Shyvana, The Half Dragon, is one of the most devastating mobile burst champions in the League, if played right.
Thanks to this build, and Shyvana's mobility and power as a burst DPS champ, I've dumped Riven as my main and switched over to Shyv.
I was sceptical at first, given my past success with Riven as a DPS Offtank, that Shyvana could live up to Riven's mobility and burst capabilities. However after spending nearly a dozen games working out the item and rune specs, I'm really happy with the results I'm seeing lately. As such, I'll suggest Shyvana as a good alt for mobile DPS players, who otherwise favour Riven, Nocturne (as lane or jungle), or Irelia.
This being said, Shyvana as a champion is not always a good match with some team compositions. I'll discuss some successes - and failures - later in the guide.
- 2012-01-23 - Version 1 published following long-term play tests as a jungler and laner in PVP, bot games, and 3 ranked games (1 win).
- 2012-02-04 - Updated for the new mastery changes with Ziggs patch - now focusing on CDR rather than Deadliness, since the Crit chance was changed to AD per level.
Pros / Cons
- Highly mobile - lots of movespeed, and with the above builds, attack speed.
- Offtanky - Especially with carefully chosen lifesteal and health items, Shyvana can become nigh-immortal.
- Fantastic support for an assassin, plays well with CC tanks.
- Squishy early game if not properly fed.
- Ult ( Dragon's Descent isn't always an obvious choice in teamfights.
- Abilities take getting used to, engagement sequence isn't obvious.
When to Play Shyvana
As I said above, Shyvana isn't always an obvious - or good - choice in some team compositions.
Bad: Solo Top/Mid
I've never found Shyvana able to keep up in solo lanes. As a melee, she can be kited in mid quite easily. The same happens when facing off against two opponents; while she can initiate in teamfights, she's vulnerable enough to stuns and slows that all she'll end up doing is tower hugging or feeding.
She makes an ideal jungler with heavies on the team - and is fantastic as a gank, especially after attaining Dragon's Descent, or using a combo of Burnout and Ghost to cover huge swaths of ground quickly. With upgraded boots such as Berzerker's Greaves in this build, movespeed with both Burnout and Ghost active is nearly 500. It's not the most spectacular speed in the game, but it's enough to be surprising.
Good: With the Heavies
Any team that's balanced towards range, or that lacks a good tank, means Shyvana will end up focused down and destroyed routinely. Due to her early game squishiness, she does need either some heal, or buffs - which is one of the reasons she makes a good jungler.
In both cases above, I've used a 21/9/0 mix - however, there are differences between the two.
High Impact DPS focuses on attack speed, crits and livesteal. This combination is what leads to Shyvana being a sort of "lifesteal tank" without having 4k health or a big mix of resistance items. Using this mastery mix and the items from that build, expect to get one ability string in during a given engagement, before backing off for a beat or two while you cooldown.
UPDATE: I've changed these masteries to match with the Ziggs patch edits to the mastery trees; Crit Chance was removed from Deadliness, so we're switching up for CDR with Sorcery instead.
Offtank DPS opts for cooldowns and armour penetration in it's masteries, to work with the other on-hit effects you're building in the items. This means you're dealing roughly the same amount of damage, but can more effectively rip holes in tanks.
While you can't always plan which item build will work best until you see the enemy team, focusing on one of these two routes - whichever you expect to use more often - still means you can switch up your items any time before level 6 when the buying split happens without too much pain on the end game.
Twin Bite is your damage dealer, scaling directly with your AD. Unlike most champ skills, it also eats towers quite effectively, since it's just a duplicated attack. Using it also resets your attack timer.
Burnout is your AoE - helpful for farming in lane, and augmented substantially by your dragon form in late game.
Flame Breath deals a mediocre amount of damage, but shreds armour - and is ranged. It's a great harass tool early game, and key to initiating late game.
I always max Burnout first, no matter the item build I'm using. Depending on what I expect from the enemy team by level 8, you should know which item path you're taking - and move your skill focus accordingly.
By maxing Twin Bite second, you're expecting to be duelling, or pushing towers down quickly.
By maxing Flame Breath second, you're expecting to be engaging in a lot of team fights, or working on moving through a lot of enemy champs or creeps quickly.
I don't need to go through the entire build for each variant above; they should speak for themselves. However, some things to consider about the why behind each build:
Early Core - Doran's Blade > Boots of Speed > Vampiric Scepter
You should have this by level 4 or 5, depending on how your game is going - this combination, along with your runes, are what make Shyvana's survivability so high early game. By closing and striking enemies - especially with Twin Bite, you can regain a significant amount of health and keep going in your lane longer during the harass game.
By the time you have to decide between Berzerker's Greaves and Mercury's Treads, the flow of the game should be well established.
High Impact DPS Core - Zeal, The Bloodthirster, Atma's Impaler
This build really shines in the end game in being able to crush even the tankiest enemies without much aid. Even if you take some damage going in, the lifesteal and AD combination - especially with the high critical strike chance - mean you can often come out of a duel or 2v1 at full health.
The stats above are actually a lie; 271 AD looks nice, but with full bonuses from Warmog's Armor, The Bloodthirster, and Atma's Impaler, your actual AD will climb to roughly 410. Expect to be melting faces with some speed when you're unhindered by CC or a teamfight.
Offtank DPS Core - Wriggle's Lantern, Wit's End, Malady
The Lantern is, here, the key divergence; if you find your enemy team has a LOT of gank or roaming going on, even this one free ward will save your back more often than I can say.
In this build, we're also working for a lot of on-hit effects, particularly with Malady and Trinity Force at the end game. Debuffing your enemies quickly (with the backup of your Flame Breath and Exhaust) means you can make the choice to fight or flee from a troubling engagement without too much stress.
How I Play Shyvana
I run with burst comps - groups like Nocturne, Lux, Miss Fortune, and Taric have just the right balance to be able to carry off teamfights in the late game, and hold their lanes well enough in the early game to farm substantially.
In lane, my job with Shyv is to initiate, back off for cooldowns, and secure kills once the tank's been weakened or exhausted. If paired with tanks like Sejuani or Taric, this usually means a double kill. With heavies like Renekton or Skarner, it's generally one kill for each of us.
In teamfights, Shyvana works best prepping enemies for massive strikes from AoE ults. Initiate with Dragon's Descent and the dragon version of Twin Bite to reduce armour and get some initial damage out, before lining up for Flame Breath for it's armour reduction. By now, your team should be in place for a string of ults to finish the job.
Bonus points if you're using the Offtank DPS build from above - Wit's End and Malady will bolster your defence for the end of the fight, and shred magic resist on the enemy team at the same time in prep for those ults.
Shyvana is a LOT of fun to play. Because of her versatility, she can be paired with just about any champion role and have a successful game. Her output is impressive in most fights - even if she does get focused down early quite often.
I hope you've enjoyed this guide. Please remember to comment (I'm always looking to improve) and up-vote if you did.