Shen Build Guide by xPetu
[11.4] xPetu's Challenger Shen Guide [EN/FR/DE/PT]By xPetu | Updated on February 18, 2021
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Runes: Standard Runes (Grasp)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
Threats & Synergies
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: W his Passive-AA. Dodge inwards when he Q's. Early Bramble Vest can be good. Either insta E or don't E at all if he hits W, if you wait and E at the wrong time, you will get pulled back and die. He can also interrupt your E with his Qs.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: W her Passive-AA (easy if you always W when she recasts E). Taunt reveals her from Shroud. Flash her R2. Passive shield her Q-poke.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: W blocks her Q1 and Q2. Use W insta when she E2's from Wall. Either Passive shield her W or E in. Her E has higher priority than your E (yours will get interrupted).
Recommended: Sustain Runes & Teleport Tips: Don't E In unless she wasted abilities. Passive shield her E's. Always try to dodge her Q. Turn around when Taunt durations ends to dodge her R if she's spamming it. Her W stops your R.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: W block his E-AA reset. Dodge his Q by E'ing in. Remember that he restores HP and Mana from killing minions. If he wastes W or Q, you can punish.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: NEVER E in if he has E up. Take short trades and don't give him 5 stacks of passive. Predict his Q-(Stridebreaker)-Flash when you're low HP and E/Flash towards him to dodge Q sweet spot.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: W his E-AA reset. Dodge Q's by hiding behind minions. Bramble Vest can be good.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Your W blocks vital hits and her Q. Stand against wall if you want to fight her Ult. Bramble Vest is good. Dodge her W at all costs, the AS slow is too strong. Your E vs her W is mostly mind game, you can hold it and wait for her to use W first.
Recommended: Sustain Runes & Teleport Tips: Passive shield his Q and E poke. W every Q you can (prevents Grasp). When you E in, always kill his barrel on first AA and then focus him. Even if he W's perfectly your auto will hit barrel first.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: W his Q. E backwards through him when E's. Stop his passive if possible.
Recommended: Sustain Runes & Teleport Tips: Passive shield his Q and AA poke. W to stop his W 3rd stack. Stand away from walls to prevent R stun. Don't engage when he's about to transform.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Block his W with your W. His E stops your E so be patient and use at close range or after he uses it. Passive shield Q poke.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: W his E-AA damage. Try to fight him when he has no Q stacks. Force him away from wave to prevent Q stacking. You win with short trades.
Recommended: Sustain Runes & Teleport Tips: W blocks his Turret AAs. Use Passive shield when going in to kill Turrets. Engage only if he wastes E.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: W her W-AA. Learn to dodge her E or dodge the game. If you get hit by E, instantly run away from spirit range. Dodge tentacles by moving straight at a 90 degree angle. When she R's, just disengage.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Predict her Q jump on low health minions with your E. Dodge her E. Your W blocks her Q and Passive on-hit. Don't walk through her R-blades if possible.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Your W blocks his W and Passive R. Fight him with Q and when he E's, wait 0.75 sec and then E backwards through him to prevent stun completely. Repeat this and win the lane.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: Your W blocks his R-enhanced AA and his CannonW-AAs. Passive shield his Q and AA poke. Engage when he transform from Hammer to Cannon, because then he doesn't have access to Knockback-E during the trade.
Recommended: Sustain Runes & Teleport Tips: Don't fight her unless you get a gank. Passive shield and W her Q and AA poke to stay healthy while farming. Only engage if she wastes W somehow.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Punish her early. She outscales you hard. W blocks her E-AA. Passive shield or dodge her Q, remember that she can hit Q through minions. Taunt prevents her from R'ing.
Recommended: Sustain Runes & Teleport Tips: W blocks his Passive W-AA. Dodge or Passive shield his Q poke. You can E him when he E's and he can't do anything except follow your champion (no AAs in Lightning form). This can be used to pull him under Tower.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: W blocks his W-AAs and also prevents him from gaining Courage while unmounted. 99% of Kled players are not aware of this and you can bait them into situations where they are used to re-mounting and then kill then. Dodge his Mounted Q. Mounted Q2 interrupts your E.
Recommended: Sustain Runes & Teleport Tips: Don't E in unless he uses E. Play passively and farm while staying healthy with Passive shield and W. He wants to punish you.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: Passive shield his Q poke. W his W-AA reset. Flashing his R is really easy if you are prepared for it. Punish him if he uses E on wave. The AS Slow from his E is really powerful.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Passive shield his Q poke. Don't run into bushes with saplings. Don't try to dive him because he can CC you for 3 seconds.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Don't All-in unless you know you can kill him. Passive shield his Qs. Never get hit by isolated Q. Dodge his E by E'ing in (if possible).
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Your W blocks his Q. Passive shield his E poke. Disengage when he R's.
Recommended: Sustain Runes & Teleport Tips: Don't E in. Dodge or passive shield her Q and E poke. W her Empowered W-AA. E backwards through her when she ults. This is literally the worst matchup for Shen.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: QSS his R near-sight if you want to ult. Take short trades. Try to maximize the amount of AAs blocked by your W. Passive shield his Q.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: He beats basically every all-in, so basically you should never E in. Passive shield his Q poke. Use W when he W's.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Passive shield his Q poke. Always block his Brittle AA with your W. E him to prevent his R2. Don't let your E get interrupted by his E or R.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: Passive shield his Q poke. Insta W when he W's. Remember that E gives him invulnerability from one-side only.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: W her Passive AA's (prevents Grasp). Passive shield her Q1 if possible. Never get hit by her Q2. Don't let her E you into a wall.
Recommended: Sustain Runes & Teleport Tips: Passive shield when you go to last hit a minion. Your W blocks her Passive mark AA. She gets taunted if she E's your E.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Don't give him free Q heals. It's a skill-based matchup because of your W. If you can block his Ws then you win. If not, you lose. Disengage when he R's.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Your W blocks his Q-AAs and his R-AA. Try to block his R-AA because it reduces your (or your allies) armor if you don't W it. Don't E him when he has full ferocity, he can just Empowered W to cleanse it and heal the damage.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport TIps: Insta W when she goes for a longer trade. Your W blocks her Passive-AAs. Don't E into her Q3, it will get interrupted. Flash her R2 if possible.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: W is best used if he overheats, because it blocks his empowered AAs. Passive shield his Q and E poke whenever possible. Immediately E away from his R.
Recommended: Sustain Runes & Teleport Tips: Passive shield his poke (not much to say here). You can E in if he wastes W. Your E stops his R.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: Use Q-W when he E's you. Dodge his W sweet spot at all costs. He can W-Flash at last second to redirect the cone. Very difficult matchup, but winnable if you are the better player.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: Don't get Flinged into his W. His W stops your R and prevents your E. Don't chase him. Early wave clear items to match his shove.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: If you E cancel his Q, he will get it back on a very short cooldown, but it's still the right decision in a lot of scenarios. Passive shield his Q and E poke. Save your W for after he dies, you can block his AAs (prevents him from life stealing) and save allies.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Play aggressively. Always inform your team (by spam pinging) when he clones your R. Ignite early to prevent his W heals. Don't get hit by Q2.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: He's very strong in extended 1v1s. You can prevent his Passive stacks by blocking AAs with W. Work on dodging his Qs and/or passive shield them.
Recommended: Sustain Runes & Teleport Tips: Passive shield his Qs and W his AAs. Play patiently and look for gank opportunities.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: He's weak without Fury, so zone him from the wave when ahead. If you leash and he gets to stack up Fury, don't even walk up. Timing your W well is the deciding factor in this matchup.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: Your W blocks his W. Passive shield or dodge his Qs. Don't walk up level 1, because he can kill you with E start. If he wastes Q or W, you can punish with a trade. Flash his R if possible.
Recommended: Sustain Runes & Teleport Tips: Prevent her from hitting 3 W-stacks on you by blocking AAs with your W. Play patiently. If she wastes E you punish with a trade (if you have the HP for it).
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: His W has a massive cooldown in the early game, use it to your advantage. Passive shield his Q's. Your W does not do much in this matchup, you can use it freely to block even just 1 AA. Keep in mind that it will provide more value in a gank situation. A good Vladimir is very annoying to play against.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: Your W does NOT stop him from applying debuff with his first W. It does stop the empowered damage from his second W. Your W also blocks his Q stun. This is very important, because it allows you to dodge his E. If you get stunned and hit by his E, you lose the lane.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: W his Q's. Be patient with your E. If E at close range, it's very hard to dodge, even with his W. If you E at max range, he can easily dodge it with W. His all-in is very strong after 6. You can use W after he E's in because it will more efficient due to his high AS.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Your W blocks his Q if you are the first target it hits. He can windwall your Q pull and deny you from getting the Q stacks. Only very experienced Yasuo players know this, but if they do it correctly, it will cripple you severely. You will lose the energy in casting Q and have no way of getting it back.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Teleport Tips: Your W blocks his Q if you are the first target it hits. His E acts as a cleanse from your taunt if it's timing out.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Your W blocks his Q and Ghoul AAs. Try to dodge his E at all costs. If he hits E, don't walk up. This is very important. If he misses E, punish him with a trade.
Recommended: Standard Runes & Ignite Tips: Your W technically blocks his Q2, but he can prevent this by hitting Q1 on you can Q2 on a minion, instead of the other way around. Try to step on his Passive blobs to prevent him from healing. His knock-ups interrupt your E.
I've abused the Shen + Kha'Zix combo for multiple years with my friend Tanu, who's a Challenger Jungler from Finland. Kha ults, Shen ults, you appear together in the enemy backline, Shen taunts everyone and Kha'Zix oneshots the highest priority target. I'm convinced this is one of the best top and jungle DuoQ combinations.
The Shencarim™ Delivery System will never fail to deliver a willing ninja to the enemy backline. Available now at Champion Selects near you.
Olaf loves going IN. Stand United gives Olaf a shield to survive the burst, so now he's immune to CC and to damage. This combination wreaks havoc if Olaf gets ahead early on.
Kayn dives into the enemy backline, Shen ults him, Kayn ults the highest priority target, Shen spams E. When Stand United finishes casting, Shen will appear inside Kayn's target and if you spam E, you will taunt the target with no counterplay. Very good strategy.
Similar to Kha'Zix, Evelynn can sneak in to the enemy backline and deliver a Shen from stealth. Strong combination.
Rengar can deliver Shen to the enemy backline, and Shen's ultimate allows Rengar to sustain more damage than usual. Similar to Evelynn and Kha'Zix.
Taunt Brothers. OK.
Champion Build Guide
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.
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.”
Why Should I Play Shen?|
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.
|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.|
|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.|
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 rest of this section will be used to list the available item options and when you should consider buying them. I will first list the recommended Mythic items, then compare Shen's footwear options and lastly explain my favorite Legendary items, naturally including Titanic Hydra.
Frostfire Gauntlet is the premier Mythic item for Shen. It offers him 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. After the tank mythic changes in 11.2, Frostfire is also considerably cheaper than Sunfire, but it now gives equal armor and magic resist.
Sunfire Aegis has been the most popular Immolate Mythic but I think it is superseded by Frostfire Gauntlet. Sunfire Aegis offers more damage and (now) also tenacity. This being said, I still think there are games where Sunfire Aegis is the right option. Sunfire Aegis shines is 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.
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.
I would not have included Stridebreaker in this list were it not for a Korean Challenger top laner who started building Stridebreaker on Shen. I tried it out after watching one of his games, and the item was surprisingly good. Stridebreaker is not something I would recommend you to build religiously, but it is a good option versus squishier champions and allows you to play a more bruiser-like playstyle. The active gap-close and slow leads to more guaranteed Q-AAs and thus more damage.
Buy these when facing multiple AA-based AD champions. (Recommended boots #1)
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)
Buy these if you're ahead and want to destroy your opponents. (Fun boots #2)
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The Extended Trade
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
The Towercrash Taunt
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.
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.
- Add TL;DR to Conclusions section
- Rework Skin Tier List
- Add more Synergies (Nocturne, Zac, etc.)
- 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.