Shyvana Build Guide by Talius

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Talius

Shyvana - Kill them with fire! (offtank/DPS)

Talius Last updated on December 3, 2011
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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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hey there and welcome to my Shyvana guide! My name is Talius (at least to you it is :p) and I'm going to be letting you in on how to wreck shop with the dragon champ. This is going to be my first guide, so I apologize in advance if it looks a little... messy, but I assure you the methods are well worth the madness. This guide is to build shyvana as a very durable melee DPS/off tank designed to cause as much havoc as possible for the enemy team. Have fun! :D

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Quick esplanation of my runes.
Quints - I get fort quints because shyv tends to hurt for HP without Warmog's Armor. I like to avoid Warmog's Armor because it's 100% defense with really no armor/magic res on it... kinda feels like a waste of an item slot unless you're like... Vladimir or something.

marks - The red mark for attack speed is because shyv thrives on attack speed. definitely get these.

Glyph - Magic resist is greatly appreciated for this little fiery off-tank, and this is the best type of rune to maximise on magic res

Seal - Armor on these for the same reason as magic resist on your Glyphs.

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This character I prefer to build in the offense tree, this is because of the CDR and attack speed bonus given rather easily, also you kinda wanna be able to pump out large amounts of damage so the points in the lower parts of the mastery tree will definitely help there.
In the defense tree I like to pick up the armor and magic resist masteries to help out just a little more with Shyvana's tankyness, the HP masteries from the tanking tree help out tremendously.

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Pros / Cons

+AWESOME charge/escape mechanism from Burnout, it also does really nice damage
+high powered physical burst and DPS
+armor reducing ranged fireball
+bonus armor and magic resist for free! (makes her durable)
+totally amazing and cool tanking ult with massive AoE potential
+very powerful mid and late game

-kiteable when Burnout is on CD
-health can be a problem early game
-dependant on good team to really shine

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I'll just do a quick explanation of items here. Before anybody comments on AP shyvana... please just no... shooting fire at stuff is cool, but if you wanna be doing that sort of thing CONSTANTLY and having it be your primary source of damage, best stick to brand or annie. but, if you like to kick butt up close and personal with yer claws and a little touch of pyromania in your wake, then read on!

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Early Game Items

Doran's Blade - I usually start with Doran's Blade. It's a really nice item that kinda gives you a little bit of everything you need to start out a successful bloodthirsty murderous pyromaniac monster. Gives you HP, damage, and lifesteal.

marcury's treads - After my first trip back I try to get Mercury's Treads if I can afford them, if you have had a hard time farming or haven't gotten many kills, get your Boots of Speed and a [healing potion]] or two to help you lane.

Targon's Brace - Once you have your boots I go for Targon's Brace first, this gives you INCREDIBLE staying power with Shyvana the HP5 and lifesteal make you a healing machine whether you're tower hugging or spamming Q on minions, it's just awesome.

Phage - Next I usually grab a Phage. This is for a decent start at survivability and a little touch of kill security. The slow will help keep people from running from you, and the HP from it is helpful early. depending on exactly how tanky you wanna be, you can build Phage into either Trinity Force for super high damage and burst or Frozen Mallet for a super annoying slow effect and higher HP, Frozen Mallet is for a build shifted more toward main tank instead of DPS.

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Mid Game items

The Black Cleaver - Now that we've balanced ourselves out a bit, we rush The Black Cleaver. This is the most powerful item you can get for Shyvana, it's amazing. It has huge damage, very nice attack speed, AND it knocks off the enemy's armor! It has Shyvana's name written all over it. Buy this baby and let the real murderfest begin.

Banshee's Veil - usually at this point is where your damage should be really nice and high, but so will the enemy team's mages, this is why we start work on our Banshee's Veil I usually don't have the cash to get both The Black Cleaver and Banshee's Veil during the same trip, at least I'd rather get The Black Cleaver asap I mean... I usually end up getting Negatron Cloak first and then building it into Banshee's Veil. The reason for getting this item, is obviously for the magic resist, the HP is also super critical to Shyvana, she has no special ability that gives her HP, and warmog is a no-no unless you like being ignored until you're the last one alive and then slowly eaten by the other team while you have pathetic helpless damage... oh, this item's passive is also super nice, as enemy teams tend to get really mad when you charge them and knock them around with your ult, the spell shield will absorb the first spell to hit you, which will more often than not be a really heavy damage move or a stun. :)

After banshee veil I usually just grab a Chain Vest to give me a little armor unless I'm up against a ******edly high AD based team, in which case, obviously rush something like Thornmail to punish them for their unbalanced team ******ation.

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Late game items

Trinity Force - Now we push for the nuclear weapons, Trinity Force. This item is zomg amazing for Shyvana, her super DPS/burst item. Once you get this baby, you're going to be pushing out something like triple or quadruple attacks all at once in addition to your super high attack speed. Nothing is sweeter than hitting that AD carry with a fireball then pushing Q and watching their HP drop zero in about 3 seconds. again, if you'd rather be MORE tanky and more annoying instead of more bursty, get you a Frozen Mallet instead of trinity force.

Randuin's Omen - This is where I finish off my armor item, and my favorite for Shyvana is Randuin's Omen. This item gives her much needed HP, a nice boost to HP5, obviously armor, slows annoying melee who spam you with attacks (effectively half an exhaust effect to carries in melee) and the AoE active is incredible for causing chaos when you initiate. Drop that active on their AD carries after you charge and laugh at their pathetically slow attack speed. If they have melee AD carries, their attack speed slow will pretty much be for the rest of the fight if they focus you as well.

Zeke's Harbinger - I finish the build with Zeke's Harbinger. This item is your support item. This item removes 20 armor from every nearby enemy, that's about 1/3 of most AD carries and mages TOTAL armor. It also gives ALL your allies 20% lifesteal, 20% attack speed, and 25 HP5, that's some tide turning power right there. what about you? Lets see... this gives Shyv damage, attack speed, lifesteal, HP5... yep, this item's for her too! :D
Now not only is Shyvana a killing machine and a protector, she's also an inspiring hero! WOOT!

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Variable items

Guardian Angel - Getting nuked a little too hard? If you're getting just demolished, don't wait until you actually get killed (sry if you already did... : / ) grab a guardian angel, if the enemy team wants you to be main tank, be happy to oblige them. I would replace Randuin's Omen with this item if I felt it necessary to get Guardian Angel. Reason being, randuin's omen is a VERY nice armor item, but all that chaos is useless if you're toast, and if the team is just focusing you down in a couple of seconds, the active/health/HP5 from randuin isn't going to do anything anyway, but the ability to charge without fear of death and let your teammates NUKE THEIR FACE in vengance for your 'death' will be well worth it when you come back to life and push burnout to trololol your way out of there and to safety.
Disclaimer: If your teammates suck, DO NOT GET THIS ITEM! Bad teammates will be ignored by the enemy and they will just camp you and kill you again. This item is a counter to enemy teams with too much burst nuke on long CDs, like Veigar and Cho'Gath. This item will not counter stupidity.

Madred's Bloodrazor - Is the other team trolling? Are they loaded up with tanks? did Soraka buy Warmog's Armor Rod of Ages and Rylai's Crystal Scepter ?!?!? Terminate those tanks with this baby. Madred's Bloodrazor is an item I personally hate with a passion because my main is Cho'Gath... but don't let that stop you! use it against any team annoying enough to throw Nunu Garen and Warwick at you simultaneously (obviously other tanky DPS deserve the same punishment). I would substitute my beloved The Black Cleaver for Madred's Bloodrazor if it was necessary, as they are similar in stats and effects.

Youmuu's Ghostblade - Is your team ******ed? First of all... I'm sorry you have to deal with that... but fear not! Youmuu's Ghostblade is here to attempt to save the day! substitute this item for your Banshee's Veil and go backdoor those towers, the active gives you soooo much attack speed you should have the power to knock them down. I would also sub out your Zeke's Harbinger with an Atma's Impaler for these kinds of stunts. The armor will help you deal with the tower shots, and if you've got at least 3000 HP you'll get 60 AD from the weapon. Don't worry about the loss of lifesteal and HP5, if you get ambushed while backdooring you're dead anyway. Just make sure you use your Burnout to rush to a safe location and recall before the enemy team wises up to the damage you're doing ( sight ward's help a LOT with this btw).

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Skill Sequence

We will be maxing Burnout first! Why? because it does everything that's why! (see below for details), after that we max out our Q for more bursty DPS and finally the fireball move because it's kinda an annoying skillshot to pull off, like Nidalee's spear cept with terribly gimped range, and it's really only there for the armor pen and a bit of bonus damage when you attack them.

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Fury of the Dragonborn

Fury of the Dragonborn - This is Shyv's passive, really no need to go into detail on it, basically just means you get rewarded for autoattacking things. so get up there and autoattack things!

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Twin Bite

Twin Bite - this is Shyvana's Q ability. It's an ability that resets the autoattack timer, so it's best to use it right after you hit with an autoattack to maximise burst. After you get Flame Breath it's a good idea to try and hit with Flame Breath before you do anything else, and then get in an autoattack and push Q for a VERY intimidating burst attack early game. Once you get your The Black Cleaver and Trinity Force you can stop worrying about timing, it doesn't matter arnymore, just spam Q whenever the cooldown ends at that point.

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Burnout - This is Shyvana's bread and butter move. This is an escape mechanism, a charge, kill security, AoE creep farm, and with her ult up, this move can turn Shyvana into an extremely annoying and trolltastic Singed. This ability will make you run fast... and when I say fast, I mean VERY fast for 3 seconds or so. If you keep up your autoattacks you keep it running, making this a move you can use to chase a fleeing opponent. The AoE fire damage from this move hurts quite a bit, and will hurt more as you build more items that do damage. This move is also an amazing escape mechanism, which is a luxury that is not allotted to many tanks. For 3 seconds, Shyvana can basically run away from trouble faster than frickin' Master Yi with his ult up, or as I call him, Master FLEE!!!

Now... for those of you who like to be REALLY mean to your enemies, when Shyvana has Dragon's Descent active, you can use burnout to mimic a fleeing/tanking/trolololing Singed. This is best used after you've charged into a teamfight and pissed off the entire enemy team and they've nuked off most of your HP during a couple of stuns. Turn on your burnout, and run like mad out of there, leaving this fire in your path. A stupid group of enemies will follow you back into your teammates and run through the fire, just like they would Singed Poison Trail and either Die to your fire or die to your melee/ranged AD carries and mages nuking the hell out of them while they chase you. Keep in mind that just like Singed you can use this fire trail to protect your teammates from pursuing enemies, hopefully the damage will make them change their mind, if not hope you have the HP to take what's left of them out or at least scare them off, if not... hope you have a Guardian Angel XD.

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Flame Breath

Flame Breath - This move is powerful even at rank 1. This ability knocks off 15% of the target's armor, and puts a burning mark over their head that screams to your allies "SHOOT THIS GUY!". If they do shoot that guy, he will take bonus fire damage every time he's hit, kinda reminds me of Madred's Bloodrazor effect. This ability IS a skillshot very similar to Ezrael's Mystic Shot which means it will deal its effect to the first MINION or champion it hits. be aware of what's in the way, or you'll end up wasting this ability on some silly minion.

When Dragon's Descent is active, this turns into a very skill-less move that you just shoot in the general direction of what you want to be hit and it will hit them and pretty much everything else. This effect becomes similar to Annie's Incinerate but this move still applies the armor debuff, and has a MUCH larger range and cone.

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Dragon's Descent

Dragon's Descent is Shyvana's strongest tanking move. This ability buffs your armor and magic resist by a good amount, decent enough that you can pretty much go without any armor or magic resist items until mid/late game and still be decently tanky. Also the ultimate, when active, gives you DOUBLE what the passive does, obviously making you even MORE tanky when you're a dragon :).

Now... not only does this ability turn you into a badass firebreathing monster... it throws you at some spot AND turns you into a badass firebreathing monster! The applications for this spell are numerous, so I'll go into detail.

Knockback - This amazing move can be used as a pushback, similar to Alistar and Lee Sin's abilities that they oh so love to use to kick you into an enemy tower. But wait! There's more! It is AoE!!! so you can push around MULTIPLE enemies at once! you can knock several enemies into your teammates if you like, or knock several enemies AWAY from your teammates (VERY IMPORTANT!!!). Lets say you have Warwick on the other team run up and do his yiff+leg humping ult to your Lux who will obviouslly be stunned in horror. Then Xin Zhao charges her to follow up for the kill. Simply use your Dragon's Descent to football tackle those punks off your support and let your Lux make a clean escape! push your burnout and kill the guys you just ulted if you know you're able to, or just run away with the 50% speed boost from burnout and the painful fire trail that they SHOULD avoid and be smart enough to NOT chase you through.

Initiation - This move is VERY flashy, intimidating (looks like it should do a lot of damage, and kinda does), and is extremely annoying (knocks ppl around, and they kinda just got tackled by a dragon... who wouldn't want to punch it in the face for being so rude?). This makes it a great charge to start teamfights, as it ensures that none of the enemy carries are going to be close to your support/mages/ranged (assuming the teamfight started on normal terms in a lane), and it causes chaos, and tends to make ppl focus you. You're the tank, getting focused is good... most of the time.

Travel (flash) - If it's absolutely necessary, this ability can be used as an extra super flash. It will teleport you through walls, nuff said, just remember that if you want to use it to escape or to travel to a location, be sure you drag the skillshot out as far as possible, as you are able to control how far you wish to fly.

Interruption - This is the most difficult means to use this ability, it's really situational. Just remember that this is a knockback, similar to Poppy's charge, so you can use it to screw up a Nunu doing Absolute Zero or Miss Fortune ruining her Bullet Time. Most situations are going to end up with you having already used your ult when the other team is doing this sort of thing, but if the situation ever happens where your ult is ready and you see one of these things happening, or about to happen, do not hesitate, jump on Nunu/ Miss Fortune's face and STOP THAT DEADLY TEAMDESTROYING ULT!

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Summoner Spells

Flash - Best spell in the game, I can't find any reason why you would ever NOT use this spell or trade it for another. If you ever choose NOT to get flash, odds are you will be tortured by the other team who DID get flash.

Exhaust - This is simply put, a totally awesome tank spell. This spell IS dependant on your teammates being good, get this spell if you're running with friends or if you know it's going to be a game where you'll be working well with your partners. Use it to shut down AD carries preferably, it cuts their attack speed down to pretty much nothing. If there's no AD carries in range or alive, hit a high powered mage with this BEFORE they start nuking things, It'll cut their spell damage by 35%. You can also use this early game to help you secure a first blood, or to help you escape from some jerk who uses Ghost to chase you when you're almost dead. This WILL NOT save you from a 3v1 gank.

Ghost - This spell is for those of you who simply refuse to die. I love this spell for when I'm on a team that Isn't very good or just doesn't give a **** about you. This spell (unlike Flash) CAN be used while you are silenced!!! That means no cleanup for you Kassadin you Riftwalk spamming jerk! This spell is also great for escaping from a 3v1 or 4v1 gank, use this and Burnout together and you'll be going faster than a speeding Rammus.

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so you wanna know how to really pwn with shyv eh? well buckle up spanky, here's the info you need for each phase of the game, but first, some tips.

Can't stress this enough... you're melee with a really crummy ranged harass that kinda needs to be saved to help you burst in MELEE range. In mid you'll be up against a nuker like Brand Malzahar or Karthus if the other team is smart, or a AD carry like Caitlyn Kog'Maw or Teemo if the other team THINKS they are smart (derp?). the kicker is, they're ALL ranged and will make your life hell in mid. don't screw yourself, do a duo lane and get fed.

-Use the bushes!
Shyvana works amazingly when played like Garen. sit in the bush then Burnout and jump out for the attack when the enemy gets too close.

-know thy enemy
Try to know what you're up against and use that to your advantage. if the enemy is ranged, be sure you're in the bushes or near your tower, if they're melee try to force them away from your creeps and farm those last hits with Burnout, which is really easy btw.

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Game phases

EARLY GAME - this is the part to pick your path based on who you're laning with (or against).

-bushwacker: this is the good old Garen style of play that I love with Shyvana. Sit in the bushes and jump out for the surprise attack. One or two burst encounters from shyv going nuts with Burnout and Twin Bite will have the enemy laners afraid to even get with 1000 range of your bushes, if you achieve this, feel free to farm creeps and every once in a while randomly target them just to make them keep their distance XD.

-Lane tank: This is the role usually played by somebody like Nasus who will sit out in the lane and just farm minions while trying their best to totally ignore the enemy laners. Shyvana CAN fill this role, but it's best left to someone a bit more durable early game. Early game Shyvana has bad staying power, so be sure you don't take too many shots, and save your burnout for when you get targeted by enemy champs to run away from them while your laning partner punishes them for chasing you. If your lane partner is an idiot and refuses to follow up when you are targeted, or just wastes his mana/CDs on creeps instead of saving it for burst, tell him to fall back and hug the tower, farm your creeps there and get Heart of Gold early, also I'd invest in some items to save your own *** because that would be looking like a bad future for any tank.

-Jungle: This isn't a jungle guide, but Shyvana is an excellent jungle, and this is a MUCH better alternative to being forced to do mid.

-Solo top: this is not advised... but very possible. Just hug your tower all day and farm the minions that hit the tower. use Burnout to clear the minions off your tower asap, as ranged champs may throw peanuts at you while you try to farm, and you want those minions dead quick so they don't get in too many shots. you might want to sub out Doran's Shield for the usual Doran's Blade if you're solo top, just for some more staying power. I wouldn't try to actually kill any enemy champs when soloing top at least until I hit lvl 6, and have my ult while they do not. also be sure you have minions when they don't in order to make your killing easier.

Mid game - This is the time when you're more of a DPS than a tank, always. I hope when these little teamfight skirmishes start you've managed to scrape together enough gold for The Black Cleaver or at least a B.F. Sword. If you don't have either of these items yet + your Targon's Brace, you are going to get your *** kicked, do not teamfight without those items. Get the red buff from jungle if possible, you will need it. If you can't get red buff, and don't have those killer items, your team will need to carry you for just a little bit while the towers get knocked down. if your team is unable to push the tower (this is easy to see if you and your team are running around ******edly in the middle of a lane, while the enemy team hugs their tower and throws tomatoes at you) ask them nicely to just go back to farming and call mia's, put up wards, be careful, and bide your time until your team is actually ready for an assault. An underfarmed team pushing towers against a team that is obviously very defensively capable is going to get your team farmed, their team fed, and that is what we gamers call "GG". So... again if you're underfarm, and so is your team, just chillax a bit, put up some wards for security and keep farming those creeps, get your cleaver, THEN you can start kicking some ***.

Late game - It's tanking time. This is where you should have plenty of defensive capabilities and be working on things like Randuin's Omen Trinity Force and Zeke's Harbinger, but even without this stuff you'll have PLENTY of durability now. This is where it's time to teamfight and AoE the hell out of the enemy.

stick with your teammates and remember to lead the charge, either with Burnout or Dragon's Descent. Aim for a squishy AD carry or mage and tear them up, do your damage, but if you see yourself getting focused (which should happen quite a bit) be ready to rush back to your teammates while they take some final shots and hopefully kill off some of the enemy team. This is ideal for fighting near enemy towers.

This is a do-or-die fight, these usually happen in mid/jungle/baron/dragon's den/etc... anywhere that doesn't involve towers. when I say do-or-die, I mean the team that runs is usually going to get aced or mostly aced. In this fight... sorry to say this folks but you have a VERY high mortality rate unless you are actually OFF tanking and there's a main tank to back you up. If you've got a MT with you like Rammus Cho'Gath or Amumu you should be totally fine. If not, be ready to go absolutely Tryndamere crazy and die in a blaze of glory if necessary, take as many enemies with you as you can, and do not flinch. If you have your ult for these kinds of fights, you may want to save it as an escape mechanism to go flying away after the enemy team bursts you down to 1/4 or less of your HP. After they do all that burst to you, hopefully your team can clean them up. Another VERY useful way to apply your ultimate is to use it to cover your own team's escape, signal your team to fall back, use your ult to knock the enemy team back just a little bit, and burnout back towards your team hopefully with something like flash to help you put a bit of distance between you and the guys you just charged, the fire trail from burnout may discourage the enemy team from chasing your team, if it doesn't, hopefully your team will pick up the ball with a kite battle, especially if your team has a Lux for support, her ability to kite and kill is amazing. If feel confident your team will destroy the other team, go ahead and open with your ult and just go as nutty as possible with your damage, try to hit as much of the enemy team with your AoE moves as possible, do not run around with burnout, you'll just run the timer out, be sure you are autoattacking and spamming Q.

-Nexus push
During these engagements, your job is to tower dive. coordinate with your teammates or just pick up on what they're doing. If you see your Graves chasing the enemy Ryze into the nexus turrets, burnout after ryze and hit him asap, get the tower to shoot you instead of Graves, burst as much damage as you can, and start to move out of range of that tower, don't get stunlocked under them, hopefully your burst+ Graves will be enough to finish Ryze off, if not, let him go, don't get killed when pushing a nexus, as that can quickly turn the tides and get your team aced. repeat this stuff to keep the enemy team away from yours while you finish off those towers and shatter the nexus, GG!!!

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Hope you all enjoyed the guide and hope you enjoy playing Shyvana!! remember to never give up if you really want her to be your main, practice practice practice is key.

sing in the storms!