Build Guide by Sterisk
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.
This a guide for a health tank Shen, comprising of a more unique build with Shen. This is also my first guide on mobafire. I had submitted it because I had made enough changes to it to warrant a new guide. Most Shen builds that I have seen consist of building more armor and magic resist for Shen, versus building health. This is definitely not what you want out of your tank, as you will lose higher amounts of health. I have tried many of these armor builds, but a teammate I found was building health instead. This had led to him having fewer deaths, and wondered how I could achieve this also. Health is used mostly to soak up damage, and no matter how much armor you have, you need a pool of health to tank turrets or aid in team fights. This build acknowledges this by building more around having ridiculous amounts of health, making you what you should be for your team, a TANK.
NOTE: You should not buy everything at the top, explained further in the item section of the guide
Pros / Cons
Nearly Impossible to kill
Great staying power
Uses energy instead of mana (highly regenerative)
Harassment skill ( Vorpal Blade)
Useful in team fights
Mulitple Target Taunt ( Shadow Dash)
Not good underfed
Not much dps (you're a tank after all)
Weak to Kog'Maw
Weak Solo Laner
Takes Skill to Play
The runes consist of a mix damage and survivability runes. For my marks, I use magic penetration to maximize the usefulness of the vorpal blade. I use dodge seals, as any damage that can be outright avoided is useful for a tank. Take Cooldown Reduction Glyphs to make the most use of spamming your taunt and vorpal blade.
Ki Strike - Every 8 seconds, Shen's next attack deals 10 + (5 x level) + (+3.5% of his maximum health) bonus magic damage. Whenever an enemy champion hits Shen with a basic attack, the cooldown is reduced by 2 seconds.
This is your passive, and a useful ability against champions and minions alike. With this health build, you should can be doing much more damage against other champions, especially with a reduced cooldown from them being foolish enough to attack you.
Vorpal Blade - Shen throws a sword to a target unit dealing magic damage . That unit becomes life tapped for 5 seconds, healing any champions who attack it over 3 seconds. The attacker's healing duration is refreshed each time the life tapped unit is struck again.
Your bread and butter. It is your primary way of dealing damage, and adds a life steal and can harass early game. Its range is pretty fair for a tank, and can allow you to score last hits on champs and minions. Spam this if you can.
Feint - Shen enters a defensive stance, receiving a shield that lasts up to 2.5 seconds or until it is destroyed.
a useless skill. You may think that negating damage would be important to a tank, but the damage to energy used ratio is not in its favor. Even when maxed out, 250 damage is almost nothing endgame, and the energy should be better used on another shadow dash or vorpal blade. The only use I see for it is to avoid those close calls ignites or DOTs. Let AP shens take this one.
Shadow Dash - Shen rapidly dashes to a target location, Taunting enemies he collides with. Restores 50 Energy if you hit a champion.
NOTE: It is a skill shot(no lock-on) and Shen only has to TOUCH the enemy in order to be taunted.
Your initiator. This is a very important skill.This taunt is better than most tanks, as you regain energy upon catching a champion with it, and can hit multiple champions if well aimed. This can also save your teammates when in trouble. It can also be used as an escape, even through trees. A great skill indeed.
Stand United - Places a shield on a target allied champion, which will absorb damage for 7.5 seconds. After channeling for 2.5 seconds, Shen teleports to the target's location.
This is essentially a teleport with a shorter cooldown. This will setup ganks or allow you to save your teammates (karthus' ult). BE WISE ABOUT USING THIS, as it is not spammable, so don't waste it on a teammate that decided to farm by himself without his fellow teammates, or someone who is stuck in the middle of the entire enemy team. This will give them not only one kill, but two. Use with caution.
Recommended Summoner Spells
Ghost - Your champion ignores unit collision and moves 27% faster for 14 seconds.
You're really slow. This spell compensates, and does even more. It can avoid minions and get to your team in a close fight, chase down weak enemy champions, defend turrets and even avoid dying.
Exhaust - Exhausts target enemy champion, reducing movement speed by 40%, attack damage dealt by 70% and ability and item damage dealt by 35% for 3 seconds.
To setup kills for you or your teammates, as a kill is usually going to help your team in the long run. It can be a game changer to break a team's morale by killing off their strongest member thanks to your exhaust.
Teleport - After 4 seconds, teleports your champion to target friendly minion or turret.
This will allow you to setup ganks or save a dying teammate when your ult is on cooldown. It can help early game when you need to get back to your lane quickly. You can also get back into the fight late game when the respawn times are longer.
Ignite - Targets a single champion, dealing 50 damage plus 25 damage per level over 5 seconds. Ignite ignores enemy Magic Resist, and reduces healing and regeneration by 50%.
This has the pretty much the same uses as exhaust, but is useful early game when they do not have many defenses against it. Its usefulness wanes during late game, and that's why exhaust is a better choice overall.
My masteries are composed of a 9/21/0 build. It allows you to maximize the usefulness of the vorpal blade, with magic penetration.
The nature of the items are discussed in the intro, but here is the reason I chose them.
You should start by buying a Ruby Crystal, to build a Spirit Visage. This will allow you to get some health right from the getgo, and with a Spirit Visage, give you magic resist that will you sustain you for quite a while.
After you build that, you should grab a Boots of Speed for that extra boost. This is the point in the guide that you should decide on building magic or armor, depending on the enemy team.
MAGIC/APMercury's Treads these will help you stay in the fight with a large reduction to stuns and other disables Ryze and Annie love to use.
ARMORNinja Tabi will help you dodge those carries that focus on autoattacks. (Master Yi, Ashe, Jax)
Now we move on to the heart of the build,
Warmog's Armor - This is what will give you that edge you need over anyone. It gives 920 health from the getgo. The health from this item is amazing, and has room for more potential if you take the time to farm, leading to a max of 1300hp.
As this point, you're probably thinking wtf, where's the armor/magic resist? Well Shen's stats scale amazingly with armor, and we plugged the hole in your magic resist with Spirit Visage. The extra health should be more than enough to sustain you.
After that, you should heading towards your endgame.
Thornmail - This will allow you to punish those carries who are foolish enough to autoattack you by returning 30% of the physical damage dealt to you as magic damage.
Sunfire Cape - You are going to be in the middle of most team fights. Why not deal damage by just standing there? Also adds more armor and some magic resist.
Banshee's Veil - A must-have item. This will completely negate a spell every 45 seconds. Most caster will open with their stun, so you will take that away from them.
Force of Nature - Adds more magic resist and adds to your already ridiculous regen.
Dotter and Adonikam also mentioned using a Randuin's Omen. This can be a great 6th item and for initating, as its active will slow down the enemy team upon catching them in a good Shadow Dash. The cooldown is also only a minute, so it is well worth the price.
An 6th item alternative would be to use a Guardian Angel, but I realize you will not be dying as often as a carry and the cooldown is not worth what Randuin's Omen gives.
As Shen, you are built to be the tank, aka the damage sponge. This is invaluable to a good team, as you are what is stopping the enemy team from steamrolling your squishy carries, the killers for your team. (Ashe, Annie, Ryze, Kassdin, etc)
During the laning phase, you should always have a partner. Shen, like most tanks, is not an amazing laner and will need some support. Focus on last hitting with Vorpal Blade and Ki Strike for money. To harass, Vorpal Blade is a good tool with that. You won't have to recall as often, as you run off energy.
In team fights, use Shadow Dash to hit as many champions as possible, followed by a Vorpal Blade on your team's target. You should coordinate your team to focus on their squishiest champ, NEVER THE TANK. If the fight looks bad, you can always use Shadow Dash to draw aggro away from your teammates to allow them to escape, as you are pretty much useless without a team to deal damage.
Points to remember:
1) You should always be with someone except when defending a turret, as your dps output will usually be subpar compared to your carries. (primary damage dealers)
2) Despite your stats, you are not invincible. If the whole team focused you, you will die just like anyone else. Remember to wait for your team members before initiating a fight.
3) You can still buy elixirs when you don't have items! Buy an Elixir of Fortitude to increase your tanking or an Oracle's Elixir to find stealthed units.
I hope that this guide helps you as much as it did me. I consider Shen to be one of the best tanks in the game and I feel that this build highlights that. I have still have more to do, and will try my best to improve the guide. Questions? Post them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.
Examples of what you can do with this build:
Won't a Madred's Bloodrazor kill this build?
This can be true and false. When you are level 18, you will have about +3000k health. This will be about 120 damage without armor. But remember, this is MAGIC damage, so it will be much less at this point, and the passive is UNIQUE so it cannot stack by building multiple ones. A combo you should be mildly worried about is a The Black Cleaver and Madred's Bloodrazor together. The most it'll do to a completed Shen will tickle.