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Shen Build Guide by xPetu

Top [11.15] xPetu's Challenger Shen Guide [EN/FR/ES/DE/PT/TR]

Top [11.15] xPetu's Challenger Shen Guide [EN/FR/ES/DE/PT/TR]

Updated on July 20, 2021
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League of Legends Build Guide Author xPetu Build Guide By xPetu 4392 320 1,178,263 Views 121 Comments
4392 320 1,178,263 Views 121 Comments
League of Legends Build Guide Author xPetu Shen Build Guide By xPetu Updated on July 20, 2021
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xPetu's Featured Video
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Runes: Standard Runes (Grasp)

1 2
Resolve
Grasp of the Undying
Shield Bash
Second Wind
Revitalize

Domination
Cheap Shot
Ultimate Hunter
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor

Spells:

1 2
Flash & Ignite
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite

Ignite

LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #22 in
Top Lane
Win 51%
Get More Stats
Top Lane Ranked #22 in
Top Lane
Win 51%
More Shen Runes
>

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

[11.15] xPetu's Challenger Shen Guide [EN/FR/ES/DE/PT/TR]

By xPetu
Translations
The guide is available in French: xPetu's Shen Guide FR
All thanks to Sinaloeb for the translation. Le guide est disponible en français!

The guide is also available in Portuguese: xPetu's Shen Guide PT
Special thanks to Igris_Woo for the translation.

The guide is also available in German: xPetu's Shen Guide DE
Vielen Dank an Gizmo für die Übersetzung auf Deutsch.

The guide is also available in Turkish: xPetu's Shen Guide TR
Special thanks to Tutku for the translation!

The guide is also available in Spanish: xPetu's Shen Guide ES
Huge thanks to Prosze for the translation!
Introduction & Credentials
About Me
Hi! I'm Petu, a Challenger Shen Main from Finland. I'm 21 years old and currently studying for a bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics. I've played League since 2013 and I first reached Challenger in 2017. In 2020, I reached 1211 LP Challenger on Europe West by only playing Shen. My peak ranks in solo queue are Rank 10 and Rank 3 on EUW and EUNE, respectively. I'm widely considered to be one of the best Shen players in the world alongside Shending Help, my friend and my rival. I've written and produced a plethora of guides for Shen during the past 5 years as a content creator. I started playing Shen right after his rework (January 2016) and I have accumulated over 1 700 000 Shen mastery points in total. You probably get the picture by now, so let us finally get started with the guide.
Why Should I Play Shen?
Tasked with enforcing the equilibrium between the spirit realm and the physical world, Shen wields blades of steel and arcane energy against any who would threaten it.

“The Eye is blind to fear, to hate, to love – to all things that would sway equilibrium.”

- Shen
Why Should I Play Shen?
  • Strong laning phase
  • High impact in SoloQ
  • Fluid blade mechanics
  • Exceedingly fun to play
  • Teaches map-awareness
  • Versatile champion
  • High skill ceiling
  • Dual-wielding Ninja
Overview of Shen's Abilities
Q - Twilight Assault Spirit Blade pull and AA-empowerment. Shen pulls his spirit blade to his location and once it arrives, he gains 3 empowered basic attacks with bonus range. Pulling the blade through an enemy increases the magic damage of the empowered attacks, slows the enemy and grants Shen bonus attack speed. This is Shen's core ability, it's his primary damage source and way to move the spirit blade. As Shen, you're always trying to pull the blade through enemy champions. More on this in the Mechanics section.

W - Spirit's Refuge Protective area around blade that blocks attacks. Shen primes his spirit blade, and creates an area around it that will activate after 2 seconds or if an allied champion walks in it. When active, the protective zone blocks all enemy basic attacks targeted at ally champions. This includes any on-hit effects or spells that count as basic attacks like Ezreal's Mystic Shot. Shen's W might be hard to use correctly at first, but when mastered, it's an extremely potent ability that can turn around fights.

E - Shadow Dash Dash that damages and taunts. Passive energy recovery. Shen's E has a passive and an active. Passively Shen recovers energy when dealing damage with his Q or E. The amount of energy recovered scales up on champion levels 1, 4 and 12. The active is a dash that deals physical damage based on your bonus health and taunts enemy champions or monsters for 1.5 seconds. It can cross terrain and can be combined with Flash for lightning fast engages. See the Mechanics section for additional details.

R - Stand United Global teleport with a shield. Shen’s ultimate is a global teleport. He shields an ally champion and channels for 3 seconds. After channeling, Shen and his spirit blade blink to the target ally. The shield scales based on the target's missing health and can last for up to 5 seconds. Stand United is Shen's identity. His playstyle revolves around saving teammates from across the map like a super hero. This guide has a dedicated section to efficient use of this ability, so make sure to read that as well.

P - Ki Barrier Passive self-shield on ability cast. After using an ability, Shen gains a shield. Ki Barrier's cooldown is reduced every time you affect at least one champion with an ability, i.e. pulling your Spirit Blade through an enemy with Q. It's important to note that the shield comes after the triggering ability's effect is finished. So with Q when the spirit blade reaches Shen, with W when the protective zone disappears, with E when you finish dashing and with R when you complete the teleport.
Runes & Summoner Spell
This section will feature everything you need to know about the pre-game as Shen. After rigorous testing, I have come to the conclusion that you need two (2) rune pages to be able to succeed with Shen in every matchup. As a rule of thumb, take the Standard Runes into melee matchups and the Sustain Runes into ranged matchups. The Threats & Synergies section at the top has my recommended runes and summoner spells for every single matchup, along with champion-specific tips. Shen has the option of choosing between Teleport and Ignite as his secondary summoner spell.

Standard Runes
This your standard rune page and it can basically be taken into any matchup without any further adaptation. The strength of this rune page is that it only contains synergetic runes with respect to Shen's abilities and his innate playstyle. The rune page is extremely efficient if you can trade hits with your opponent consistently and correctly during the laning phase.

Grasp of the Undying fits well into Shen's standard trading pattern and it's the obvious choice for our Keystone. It gives Shen more damage, some sustain and scaling health. Twilight Assault's extended basic attack range allows you to proc Grasp with relative ease against melee champions. Fantastic rune overall.
Shield Bash has perfect synergy with Shen's passive. Ki Barrier is a high-frequency self-shield, which implies lots of Shield Bash activations. In combination with Grasp, Shield Bash makes Shen's short trades extremely potent. The bonus resistances while shielded are often overlooked but they do amount to a considerable HP save over the course of an entire laning phase.
Second Wind is constantly active due to the high frequency of your short trades in melee matchups. In ranged matchups, the enemy is poking you, thus activating Second Wind non-stop. I very much prefer Second Wind over Bone Plating and basically never choose the latter. The healing provided by this rune is just too good.
Revitalize increases the shield on Stand United, your passive shields from Ki Barrier and the healing from Grasp of the Undying. This rune shines on a champion like Shen and it has an impact starting from level 1 until the end of the game. These are the reasons why I prefer it over the (also good) alternative of Overgrowth. Overgrowth is arguably better in the late game, but it does not provide any value early on.
Cheap Shot is the third rune to fit the cateogry of runes that amplify Shen's short trades, Grasp and Shield Bash being the first two. The "impaired movement" refers to slows as well as hard CC, like Taunt, meaning that Cheap Shot will activate from your Q drag-through slow and your E. The rune gives you a small but consistent damage increase in the form of true damage.
Ultimate Hunter provides a percentual decrease in cooldown. It will provide incredible value for Shen because Stand United has one of the longest base cooldowns of any ability. Ravenous Hunter serves as an alternative to Ultimate Hunter, but I'm convinced that the increased casting frequency of your Ultimate will win more games compared to a slight Omnivamp boost.
For rune shards, I opt for the highest gold value at level 1, choosing attack speed, adaptive force and armor or magic resist depending on your lane opponents damage type. Scaling health is a viable option, but I prefer to take flat resistances for a stronger early game. Rune shards mostly come down to personal preference, so feel free to deviate from my recommendations.


Sustain Runes
The purpose of this rune page is to complement Shen's weaknesses, especially the lack of sustain in his kit. In contrast to the standard rune page that aims to emphasize Shen's normal playstyle, the sustain rune page aims to transform Shen's playstyle from trade-heavy to a more farm-heavy, passive style. This is why it should be taken into traditionally difficult matchups like Neeko, Gangplank and Vayne.

Fleet Footwork solves Shen's lack of innate sustain. The keystone usually heals you for over 3000 health every game, and it can reach even higher than that. Why it works so well, is the melee exemption of healing penalties from minions. But not only does Fleet Footwork offer paramount healing, it also gives you 20% movement speed on those energized basic attacks. The impact of this short movement speed surge can not be overstated. When you’re last hitting minions in a traditionally difficult Shen matchup like Gangplank for example, you would normally almost always take a Q to the face. But Fleet allows you to quickly snag a minion kill and retreat with the movement speed buff. Over the course of an entire laning phase, avoiding abilities or basic attacks due to Fleet will amount to hundreds of health points saved. This can mean the difference between having to back or being able to ult for a double kill.
Triumph is chosen because it's the most consistent and effective option available in this slot, and this is the methodology we use for the rest of the runes as well. Triumph can be a life-saver in team fights in general, and it's especially good when building a lot of health, like Shen does. The extra gold is also a nice bonus.
Legend: Alacrity gives a moderate amount of Attack Speed and it stacks up pretty quickly. Attack speed helps you with last-hitting, pushing, killing neutral objectives and obviously dealing damage to enemy champions. Legend: Tenacity should replace Alacrity versus team compositions with major hard Crowd Control.
Coup de Grace is superior to its contender, Last Stand, because of its consistency. I've tested both extensively and found that Last Stand will do more damage in some games but in others it will not activate at all. Shen deals his damage at high health and with the sustain rune setup, you're not trying to reach low HP which would enable Last Stand. Coup de Grace is always good.
Second Wind (and the Resolve tree in general) is the clear winner here because taking the sustain runes means that you're already assuming a difficult lane. You might feel compelled to take Shield Bash as a secondary rune but in reality, you will not trade enough during the laning phase to make Shield Bash valuable.
Revitalize is just a really solid rune for Shen, as discussed earlier. The Sustain Runes are very healing focused by nature and Revitalize just happens to increase the healing from Fleet Footwork and Triumph.
We choose 1 adaptive force shard and 2 resistance shards with the sustain runes. Legend: Alacrity allows us to circumvent taking the attack speed shard, which in turn open up the option of choosing two defensive shards. Flat resistances complement the massive sustain from our rune page and make for a very durable Shen.

Summoner Spells
Always
Flash is simply the best and most versatile Summoner Spell in League of Legends. It should be taken every time you play Shen, with no exceptions. Flash can be combined together with your E to perform a "Taunt-Flash", which is discussed in the Mechanics section of the guide.
Pick One
Ignite is the primary option for your second Summoner Spell slot. Shen can use Stand United to join his team, which allows him to go for a combat Summoner Spell instead of Teleport. It synergizes well with your strong early game, thus allowing you to play more aggressively.
Teleport is seen as the standard secondary Summoner Spell for top laners. It allows you to play the map in a versatile manner and acts as Get Out of Jail Free card if you screw up your wave management in the laning phase. Teleport is the safer option in comparison to Ignite.
Itemization
In this chapter I'll introduce you to my recommended build path for Shen and give brief descriptions of Shen items and their purposes. Itemization in League is a complex problem and it is impossible to find a general solution. However, it is possible to find a solution that works well enough in most games. My updated recommended core build is as follows: Build Titanic Hydra as your first item. Then build boots according to the game state and team compositions. Follow those up with one (1) Mythic item out of the presented options and the rest of your items should be chosen by analysing the specific game you are in. Building Sunfire Aegis first is completely acceptable because Titanic Hydra got nerfed as a first item in Patch 11.8. If you're interested in trying out a more supportive playstyle suitable for high elo, check out my in-depth video on RedempShen. Example build paths:

> > >

> > >

> > >


This core item format is a product of research, testing and a custom optimization program that I wrote to find the best items for Shen. The reason why I prefer and recommend going Titanic Hydra first, is because it makes your build path more flexible. Most of Shen's variability comes from the choice of your Mythic item and thus it is better to build the constant item (Titanic) first. This build path also opens up the option of going for non-waveclear Mythic items, like Riftmaker and Divine Sunderer, without sacrifing lane presence. It is still completely acceptable to build a Bami's Cinder upgrade first, I'm simply presenting my current favorite build. The rest of this section will be used to list the available item options and when you should consider buying them. After discussing Titanic Hydra, I will list the recommended Mythic items, then compare Shen's footwear options and lastly explain my favorite Legendary items.

First Item

Titanic Hydra
The premier Legendary item for Shen. Titanic Hydra is my all-time favorite item and even after the removal of its Unique Active, it is still a must on Shen. Titanic Hydra is the best damage item for Shen and it also gives a considerable amount of Health. Shen's kit revolves around basic attacks and he is one of the only tanks with an Attack Speed boost in kit. Titanic Hydra simply synergizes perfectly with Shen's playstyle and build.


Mythics

Riftmaker
I can confidently say that I am solely responsible for the rise of Riftmaker Shen. In fact, due to advancements in the data science algorithm behind the in-game shop, the surgence of high-winrate Riftmaker Shen players lead to the item being one of the recommended Mythic options for Shen. The item is very cost-effective with a brilliant passive and amplifies Stand United through its massive AP ratio. It grants you survivability in the form of health and omnivamp, and also makes you hit like a truck in extended fights.

Frostfire Gauntlet
Frostfire Gauntlet is a very consistent Mythic item. It offers Shen everything you want from an item: defensive stats, wave clear, sustained damage and utility in the form of AoE slows. The Mythic passive is also exceptional on a health-based champion like Shen. I honestly think that you could build Frostfire every game and do well. Frostfire is also considerably cheaper than Sunfire, and only loses by 5 armor and MR in comparison.

Turbo Chemtank
Turbo Chemtank has seen a rise in popularity after the start of Season 11. There are two main reasons for building this item over its direct competitors, Frost- and Sunfire. Firstly, Turbo Chemtank allows you to catch up to champions with high mobility and/or long range. Efficient usage of Supercharged guarantees Taunts and Q-empowerments. Secondly, Turbo Chemtank's Mythic passive grants Ability Haste which decreases the long cooldown on Shen's ultimate.

Sunfire Aegis
Sunfire Aegis has been the most popular Immolate Mythic but I think it is superseded by Frostfire Gauntlet and Turbo Chemtank in most games. Sunfire Aegis offers more damage and also tenacity. This being said, I still think there are games where Sunfire Aegis is the right option. Sunfire Aegis shines in long, drawn-out fights and as such, it should be built when facing multiple tanks with CC in the enemy team. In the hyper late game (6 items), because of its higher stats, Sunfire should replace Frostfire.

Divine Sunderer
Shen has always been a good Sheen user, but Divine Sunderer is the first Sheen item that actually fits into his build well. I consider Divine Sunderer to be the best offensive Mythic for Shen. It offers good stats, an extremely good Spellblade passive and one of the best Mythic passives. Shen's damage composition is hybrid in essence, meaning that gaining both Armor and Magic penetration is extremely valuable. This item is also very fun to play with. I'd recommend picking this Mythic up if you gain a considerable early game lead.


Boots

Plated Steelcaps
Buy these when facing multiple AA-based AD champions. (Recommended boots #1)

Mercury's Treads
Buy these when facing hard-CC (and/or AP) champions. (Recommended boots #2)

Boots of Swiftness
Buy these if you're feeling swifty and the enemies have slows. (Fun boots #1)

Berserker's Greaves
Buy these if you're ahead and want to destroy your opponents. (Fun boots #2)


Legendaries

Thornmail
Thornmail's build path and stats are stronger than ever before. Grievous Wounds is generally valuable due to the influx of Omnivamp and other healing effects in the game. Instead of rushing the complete Thornmail, I recommend purchasing Bramble Vest and sitting on it for a while. Bramble Vest is ridiculously effective with respect to its cost and building it early allows you to counter healing-based top laners.

Randuin's Omen
Randuin's Omen is the best defensive item when it comes to dealing with physical damage. Both the passive and active are fantastic, and the item fits well into Shen's build. Pick this up after your Titanic Hydra versus AD-heavy team compositions.

Spirit Visage
The defensive magic resist option. Spirit visage increases all healing and shielding on you. This naturally includes Ki Barrier which makes the Item very desirable for Shen.

Abyssal Mask
The balanced magic resist option. The damage amplification is applied by your Shadow Dash. You should not underestimate the value of the damage amplification. Overall, this item is an excellent option versus AP champs.

Wit's End
The offensive magic resist option. Wit's End is the best secondary damage item for Shen, after Titanic Hydra. Combined with Frostfire and Titanic, Wit's End makes Shen an inescapable terror with balanced defensive stats and a truckload of damage.

Force of Nature
The situational (additional) magic resist option. I added Force of Nature to the list because it can be a good laning item in some matchups, notably versus high spell-frequency mages like Cassiopeia and Ryze. It can also be built later on versus heavy-AP compositions.

Gargoyle Stoneplate
Stoneplate is the primary late game tank item. It costs a lot but if you manage to finish it as your 4th or 5th item, you become very durable. A lot of people don't know this, but the Active shield actually triggers Shield Bash, and can be used to deal 500 damage with a single basic attack.

Sterak's Gage
Sterak's Gage is the secondary late game tank item. If you've already built Spirit Visage, I'd recommend picking Sterak's Gage because the enhanced healing makes you practically unkillable. The passive shield on Sterak's will also trigger Shield Bash, similarly to Stoneplate.

Warmog's Armor
Warmog's Armor was changed in Patch 11.11 and now it is a viable second item for Shen. It offers you sustain for side laning and a lot of bonus health which increases your Ultimate shield. This is a good item vs mixed damage.

Redemption
Redemption is the best support item for Shen. It is a fantastic second item due to its low cost and powerful effects. The RedempShen playstyle is extremely good in higher ranks like Grandmaster and Challenger due to the fast and volatile nature of high rank games.
Trading Pattern
In academia, it is possible to analyse a person's capabilities through a tool box metaphor. Let's take me for example: Every time I take a course at my university and learn about a new branch of mathematics, I'm adding a new mathematical tool to my existing mathematical tool box. I'm then able to combine and use the available tools in my mathematical tool box to solve different problems. In League of Legends we can take a similar approach. The usage of the trading tools available to you comprises your trading pattern in the laning phase. After reading this section, you will have acquired three (3) new tools to your trading tool box on Shen. By combining and using these newly-obtained trading tools in game, your Shen gameplay will ascend to another level.

The Extended Trade
This is an extremely powerful trading tool that can be applied notably well in most melee matchups. To set the Extended Trade up, you need to use Twilight Assault to drag your Spirit Blade to an offensive position before the trade. In general, we consider the Spirit Blade to be in an offensive position when it is deep on the enemy's side of the lane. A defensive Spirit Blade position means that your Spirit Blade is close to your tower or behind you in general. When playing aggressively, always looks for opportunities to drag your Spirit Blade to an offensive position.

> > > > >

To perform the Extended trade, start off by simply using Q to pull the Spirit Blade through your opponent. Now you want to wait for a couple of seconds to let your Q cool down. The 3 empowered Q stacks last for 8 seconds, so you're in no hurry. If the enemy does not respect you, you can simply walk up and start attacking him. After 3 basic attacks, you should position yourself inside of the enemy champion's model to guarantee a second drag-through with your Q. You are almost guaranteed to win the trade if you manage to get all 6 empowered basic attacks off. You can use your E to close the initial gap, to chase for a kill or to disengage after your Qs, depending on the matchup and how the enemy plays it. You should use your W to block the enemy's retaliation attempts during the trade. This trading tool is at its best during the early stages of the laning phase (levels 2-5). Naturally, there is room for variation, i.e. the Extended Trade can be performed from a defensive Spirit Blade position or with any number of initial Q stacks. Always try to adapt the tools to fit the situation presented to you.



The Grasp Chop
In contrast to the aforementioned Extended Trade, that requires some set-up and commitment, the Grasp Chop is a trading tool that can be used from almost all positions and it's very noncommittal by definition. The Grasp Chop is simply one Q-AA with a Grasp of Undying proc. When performed correctly from an offensive Spirit Blade position, the Grasp Chop will trigger the following runes: Grasp of the Undying (stay in combat with minions), Shield Bash (activate your Passive with Q) and Cheap Shot (drag-through Q slows). Now that's a lot of damage coming from one (1) basic attack! Performing the Grasp Chop consistently will create a health-advantage for you, which will inevitably lead to kill opportunities with the Extended Trade. The secret behind the success of the Grasp Chop is Ki Barrier. There is no way for the opponent to win short trades versus a perfect grasp-chopping Shen, because you are always shielded when going in for the short trade.

The Towercrash Taunt
This trading tool is the most situational out of the three. It requires you to have a slow-pushing minion wave that crashes into the enemy tower. To perform the Towercrash Taunt, start by walking up to the opponent under tower and dragging your blade through him thus activating your passive shield. Instead of attacking the enemy champion, simply start attacking his tower. Our goal is to stay in combat to prime Grasp of the Undying. The enemy will most likely attack you and that's the moment you strike: Attack him once with an Empowered Q-AA and then E backwards through him, away from the tower. If done correctly, you will be out of tower range before taking a tower shot and the opponent will have taken minion aggro from his attack on you. The total damage done by the Towercrash Taunt will consist of 1 Q, 1 E and all of the minion damage while your opponent is taunted. In return, you will have taken maybe 1 or 2 basic attacks and an ability worth of damage, and probably half of that is blocked by your Passive shield. Sounds like a winning trade to me.

Mechanics
In this section, I will go over some advanced Shen mechanics that you should strive to master. Shen is generally not seen as a mechanically heavy champion but he does have some important tricks up his sleeve.

E-Flash
The Taunt-Flash. This is Shen's most well-known mechanical trick and an iconic part of his kit. To perform the E-Flash, cast Shadow Dash and use Flash before the dash ends. It's a very simple combo but it can be used in endlessly creative ways. To maximize the range and the area covered by your Shadow Dash's hitbox, you should cast E at maximum range and Flash right before the dash completes. However, maximizing range is not the only correct usage of the Taunt-Flash. You can perform an instant E-Flash by casting Flash immediately after your E. This can be used to catch enemies off-guard from close range and it's especially useful versus a Champion like Fiora, who's always looking to parry your E. I recommend practicing Taunt-Flashing in the Practice Tool before doing it in game. Just play around with the combo by placing multiple Target Dummies and trying to hit them all in creative ways.



Q-Flash
A less well-known mechanic, but an equally important one, is the Q-Flash. This trick was first documented by me in 2017 but it has still remained shadows to this day and is outshone by the popular Taunt-Flash. Shen's damage output is greatly increased if you enhance your Q-AAs by pulling your Spirit Blade through an enemy. Getting or not getting the drag-through is often the deciding factor in finishing an enemy off. Pulling the Spirit Blade through an enemy also reduces the cooldown of your Ki Barrier and can thus, in combination with another ability, save you from otherwise lethal damage. Q-Flashing is the fastest and most reliable method of guaranteeing the drag-through. To perform the Q-Flash, cast Twilight Assault and Flash on top of the enemy champion before the Spirit Blade reaches your location. If you Flash too late, the Spirit Blade will stay at the initial cast point of your Flash. When mastered, this technique will prove valuable in every game you play as Shen.



Triple-Q Leash
Shen has one the best Level 1 jungle leashes in the game because of the damage on Twilight Assault. Most Shen players simply use Q at 1:29 while leashing and then hit 3 Q-AAs on the monster. This is wrong. First, we discovered the Double-Q Leash. To perform the Double-Q Leash, use your first Q at 1:25 and use Q again when you've used the first 3 Q-AAs. The principle is the same as in the Extended Trade. Now, a hasty inference might lead you to think that this is the best possible leash you can give. You would be wrong. Shending Help was the first to document the optimal leashing technique on Shen, the Triple-Q Leash. The Triple-Q Leash adds a Passive shield into the leash and thus supersedes the Double-Q Leash. We manipulate Ki Barrier's cooldown by using Q before the first damaging Q at 1:25. To perform the Triple-Q Leash, use the first Q at 1:17, the second Q at 1:25 and the third Q at 1:34 (after 3 Q-AAs). Use your Passive shield to tank 1 or 2 hits for your Jungler. By doing this correctly, you make your Jungler very happy and arrive to lane in time for the first minion death.



Q-W Protecting
Most Shen players default to using Spirit's Refuge on themselves as if they were playing Jax and using his Counter Strike. During the laning phase, this is correct because you are in fact alone in the top lane. However, when it comes to teamfights and skirmishes, Shen's W should be used to protect your teammates. Spirit's Refuge is an incredibly powerful ability when used correctly. Giving an ADC a two-second immunity to basic attacks can mean the difference between winning and losing a teamfight. The easiest way to apply Spirit's Refuge on a carry is by simply standing next to them, using Q to pull the Spirit Blade there and then using W. In addition to this basic method, there is an advanced way of blocking basic attacks on your teammates. Advanced Q-W Protecting, as I like to call it, is probably the hardest Shen mechanic to perform correctly. It's a situational technique that requires your ally to be standing between you and your Spirit Blade. If you press Q and W at the same time, your Spirit Blade will be primed while moving towards you. When primed, it will activate if it passes through an ally champion, meaning it can also block basic attacks while traveling. An activated, moving Spirit's Refuge will also have a larger instantaneous area of effect than a stationary Spirit's Refuge. This is caused by the check frequency of Spirit's Refuge. The details of this interaction are omitted here for now as they are outside the scope of this guide. See the video below for an example of Q-W Protecting and the larger area of effect.

Split-pushing
After the laning phase you'll want to begin split-pushing. Shen excels at split-pushing because he has two ways of joining his team: Teleport and Stand United. Unlike what most people think, the main objective of split-pushing as Shen is NOT to take towers, it is to draw pressure away from your team. Before we start split-pushing, we need either Teleport or Stand United to be off-cooldown, so that we can join our team if needed. Now, I'll briefly explain the three core principles of split-pushing. Mastering these principles will exponentially improve your Shen gameplay and inevitably, your rank as well.

Current Objective
You need to acknowledge what the current objective is and start pushing the opposite side of the map. If it's a neutral objective like Baron , you split-push bot lane. If your team is grouping to take bot Inhibitor, you split-push top lane. You're trying to force the enemies to commit members of their team away from the current objective, so your team either gets the objective uncontested or wins an advantageous team fight. Understanding your team's current objective and eventually win condition is one of the most important skills in League.


Mirroring Pressure
We've all seen it happen, a fed toplaner starts split-pushing, dies in a 1v3 and complains that their team doesn't do anything. That toplaner lacks the concept of mirroring pressure. As a split-pusher it is essential to know when your team has pressure and when they don't. When 4 members of your team are sieging a tower, they have pressure and you can mirror that by applying pressure on the opposite side of the map, forcing the enemy into a lose-lose situation. When your team is recalling or just randomly scattered across the jungle, they don't have pressure, meaning you shouldn't try to apply pressure either. If you die when your team has no pressure, the enemy doesn't lose anything. In general, the more aggressive your team is, the more aggressive you can be.


Vision
As Shen, the worst thing you can do is die in a sidelane for free. Because when you're dead, you can't ult. And when you can't ult, your team is going to int. To prevent this from happening, you'll want to get ward coverage around your lane. Always buy 1 or 2 Control Wards when split-pushing. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. If you don't have space for a Control Ward, sell your Doran's Shield. Use your Stealth Ward and Control Ward to create a line of vision in the jungle. You don't want to extend beyond this line of vision unless you have knowledge of the enemies' positions. Just remember that dying is the last thing you want to do. If hitting the tower puts you at a risk, don't hit it.
Stand United
This section will cover the principles of efficient ultimate usage as Shen. Stand United is a game-changing ability, thus also having a monumental cooldown. Knowing when to ult and when not to, is a major key to climbing the Solo Queue ranks with Shen. An important distinction to make is the difference between reactive and proactive ultimates. Reactive ultimates are performed to counter the enemy's action and to turn the tide of a fight by (usually) ulting a carry in danger. Proactive ultimates are done in collaboration with an engaging ally to pick a fight on our terms, i.e. ulting a stealthed Kha'Zix to assasinate the enemy backline or ulting a Jarvan IV that then E-Q's into the enemy team.

Map Awareness
As Shen, you need to be aware of what is happening on the map. Firstly, you need to look at the minimap constantly, atleast once every 5 seconds. This is a general tip and is not specific to Shen. It will improve your gameplay on any champion. The second important thing is to move your camera around the map. The minimap gives a whole lot of information, but not everything. To see enemy resource bars, minion health and abilities being used you have to look around the map. There are no excuses to keeping your camera centered on your champion all the time. You need to know what everyone on your team is doing, who is in danger and who is safe. This is vital to your ultimate because you're giving yourself more time to think and make the best decisions. You can either click the map to look around or use the F-keys to view your teammates. I've personally rebound my F-keys to Space for Jungle, V for Mid, C for ADC and X for support. This allows me to quickly check on every teammate with just my thumb while keeping the rest of my fingers on QWER.



Wave Management
The state of minion waves has a profound impact on the net present value of Shen's ultimate. It's rarely a good idea to use Stand United if there is a giant minion wave about to crash into your tower. In the best-case scenario, you would have pushed your minion wave to enemy tower prior to ulting, thus minimizing the amount of minions lost during your absence. Having Teleport to get back to lane is also ideal. In reality, there are situations where you will have to ult and the wave will not be in a perfect state. But we can minimize our losses by planning ahead. If you can read the state of the game and predict what is likely to happen in the next few minutes, you can setup the minion waves accordingly. Proactive ultimates are great, because they can (by definition) be executed while your wave is pushed up.

Cast Timing
Stand United's shield scales with the target's missing health percentage, maxing out at 60% missing health. The rune Revitalize just so happens to increase shielding on targets below 40% of their maximum health, meaning that the theoretically optimal time to cast your ultimate is when the target ally falls below 40% health. This is good to remember. However, this does not mean that you should only ever cast your ultimate on low-health allies. When timing your ultimate, the deciding factor should be the actions of enemy champions. You want to ult at the moment when the opponent commits to your target ally. Using Stand United is similar to fishing: You don't want to ult too early and scare away the fish, but you also don't want to ult too late when to bait has already been eaten.
Skin Tier List
Conclusions
Final Thoughts
Coming into this project, my objectives for the guide were clear. I wanted to offer the leading edge knowledge on Shen and present it in a clean format. In my opinion, too many guides focus on looking fancy, thus adding unnecessary and distracting graphics. As an engineering student, I value clarity of information above all else. I believe this guide shows that fact, as I minimized visual clutter and avoided any ambiguity in my text. I'm truly confident that my Shen Guide supersedes all its competitors in form and content.

This is the first guide I've written on MobaFire (excluding when I was 14 years old and tried to make a Silver Lee Sin Guide) and that's why it took me a day or two to get the hang of BBCode formatting. I probably would've struggled even longer, if it were not for the excellent code examples in jhoijhoi's Making a Guide. Additional thanks go to the MobaFire discord server for answering my questions and my Twitch moderator, TrueVenm, for giving out BBCode tips. All in all, I think the guide turned out even better than I originally hoped for and I will definitely keep it updated for the foreseeable future.

References
A majority of the concepts introduced in this guide originated from my work with Shending Help, the other EUW Challenger Shen player. We published a video guide for Shen back in 2019, titled the Ultimate Shen Guide. Shending has played more Shen than I have and without him, I wouldn't have the same knowledge about Shen that I have today. He has a very in-depth Matchup Document for Shen, and I recommend checking it out if you crave more information about specific matchups. You can find Shending Help on Twitch and Twitter.

If you have read this far, I commend you for your diligence and wish you good luck in Solo Queue. I also highly recommend you to check out my Season 11 Shen Climbing Guide. It's a two-hour-long video where I explain top lane concepts ranging from basic to advanced and also show you directly how to apply those concepts in practice. If you enjoyed this guide or learned something new, I would appreciate a subscription on YouTube or a follow on Twitch. If you have any questions, you can leave them in Discussion section or ask them directly through my Discord Server.
Update Log
Ideas
  • Add TL;DR to Conclusions section
  • Rework Skin Tier List

Update Log
  • 21.07.2021 Patch 11.15 Update: Adjusted for the new patch. Hullbreaker does not seem to be good on Shen from my testing. I'm still feeling ambivalent about Anathema's Chains.
  • 23.06.2021 Patch 11.13 Update: I need to test out Anathema's Chains and Hullbreaker before adding them to the guide, but they seem promising.
  • 25.05.2021 Patch 11.11 Update: Added Redemption and Warmog's Armor to the Itemization section. Added Gwen and Lee Sin to the Threats section.
  • 12.05.2021 Patch 11.10 Update: Checked Patch notes. RedempShen build is still very strong and Abyssal Mask is a very good 3rd item now.
  • 04.05.2021 Spanish Translation: Added yet another translation!
  • 28.04.2021 Patch 11.9 Update: Shen buffs! Checked Patch notes and added a link to my RedempShen build in the itemization section.
  • 14.04.2021 Patch 11.8 Update: Titanic Hydra nerfed in the early game, it's still ok as first item because the on-hit damage is unchanged. Sunfire Aegis first is viable and probably better in some games.
  • 26.03.2021 Turkish Translation: Added another translation!
  • 17.03.2021 Patch 11.5 Update: Itemization updated! I now recommend building Titanic Hydra first and then choosing your Mythic item. This allows for more flexibility (and more fun mythic items like Riftmaker). Added a couple of champions to the Synergies section and read the patch notes.
  • 03.03.2021 Patch 11.5 Update: Read patch notes. Thinking about including a couple of more Mythic Items (Riftmaker, Immortal Shieldbow).
  • 18.02.2021 Patch 11.4 Update: Added German translation, checked patch notes.
  • 06.02.2021 Patch 11.3 Update: Checked patch notes and updated accordingly. No direct changes to Shen, but bruiser top laners are weaker (indirect buff).
  • 28.01.2021 Portuguese Translation: Special thanks to Igris_Woo for this translation!
  • 28.01.2021 S11 Guide Contest: My guide was awarded first place in the category "New Top Guides" in the S11 MOBAFire Guide Contest. Hard work pays off.
  • 21.01.2021 French translation: I have added a link to a French translation of the guide as a Google Docs file. Thanks to Sinaloeb for the translation!
  • 21.01.2021 Patch 11.2 Update: Added Force of Nature to the itemization section. Updated Frostfire and Sunfire explanations according to patch changes. Reworded miscellaneous parts of the guide.
  • 06.01.2021 Initial Release: The guide is finally ready to be published. Worked on this non-stop for the past two days. Very happy with the content and the form. Season 11 starts in 2 days.

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