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Shen Build Guide by Smudey

Top [14.13] The Ultimate All Roles Shen Guide

Top [14.13] The Ultimate All Roles Shen Guide

Updated on July 5, 2024
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Smudey Build Guide By Smudey 32 4 83,858 Views 4 Comments
32 4 83,858 Views 4 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Smudey Shen Build Guide By Smudey Updated on July 5, 2024
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Shen
    Top + Mid
  • LoL Champion: Shen
  • LoL Champion: Shen
  • LoL Champion: Shen
    River Shen (meme)

Runes: Grasp vs Melee

1 2 3 4
Grasp of the Undying
Shield Bash
Second Wind

Cheap Shot
Ultimate Hunter

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10-180 Bonus Health


1 2 3 4
Flash + Ignite (Aggressive)
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite




Threats & Synergies

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

x Who am I?
x Who is Shen?
x Shen Ability Rundown
x Top/Mid Lane
x Jungle
x Support
x Runes
x Items
x Tips & Tricks
x Conclusion
x Special Thanks
x Patch Updates
Who am I?

Hey! My name is Smudey and I am a Shen Main from Germany who just loves this champion way too much. I've played a little bit in 2017 and 2020, but actually started playing seriously in 2021, around the time Akshan released. However, I've started playing Shen in Season 12, right about the time when his Q got nerfed lol. I just happened to pull Surgeon Shen and was like "let's just try this champion", and the rest is history. I've peaked Gold I, but didn't continue grinding as I was not happy with Shen's state at that time. However, I believe that with all the new changes, I can climb higher than before! I'm neither the greatest Shen player of all time, nor do I invest enough time in playing the game to pursue such status since I am also involved in many other games, but I still believe that my knowledge of Shen and the game as a whole can help many of y'all out there to at least have some sort of direction when learning Shen and I hope that you'll join me in this journey to embrace the equilibrium!

Who is Shen?

Shen has been classified as a Warden, which is a sub-category of tanks. His focus lies on being a big meatshield that peels for his teammates and protects them at all costs. However, unlike other tanks, Shen is at his strongest in the early game, meaning his laning phase is very strong and consistent with little to no losing matchups. With his early-mid game power and his global ultimate, he can control the entire map like no other champion. Shen’s abilities are very straightforward, making him somewhat easy to pick up, but he needs a lot of time and practice to master him to his fullest. He not only has very in-depth tech with his spirit blade, he also requires a good understanding of macro through his global ultimate, giving him a high skill ceiling and making him super fun since you can always learn new stuff from playing Shen. He is also very versatile, being able to build and play like a peeling supportive tank, an engaging frontliner or perhaps even a team carrying bruiser! He can successfully be played in a variety of playstyles (which is the reason why I want to make him work in nearly all roles to make full use of his versatility) so you can identify your own Shen in your own playstyle.

If you want to a champion, that:

• Has a strong laning phase
• Can impact the entire map early on
• Is easy to learn, but hard to master
• Has satisfying blade mechanics
• Rewards your macro and decision making
• Can be played in a variety of ways

Then Shen is the right champion for you. Start your journey now to embrace the equilibrium and achieve true balance. Shen is currently very strong, but not a lot of people play him, so if there is any time to start playing Shen, then it’s right now!
Shen Ability Rundown

Ki Barrier Self-shield upon casting an ability. After casting an ability, Shen gains a shield for 2.5 seconds as soon as the ability's effect is finished. Successfully affecting another champion with an ability (dragging Q through an enemy, protecting an ally with your W, hitting an enemy champion with your E or successfully finishing your R teleport) will reduce your passive cooldown depending on your level.
Twilight Assault Reposition your blade to your location, empowering your AAs. Shen calls his Spirit Blade to his current position and empowers his next 3 auto attacks upon blade arrival, granting your AAs extra max health magic damage and more range. Dragging your blade through an opponent increases your AA damage, your attack speed and slows the opponent if they walk away from you. We devide non-dragthrough and dragthrough Qs into normal Qs and Empowered Qs.
Spirit's Refuge Shield around your blade that blocks auto attacks. Shen's Spirit Blade creates a protective area that blocks auto attacks as well as some auto attack based abilities (Udyr stun, Leona Stun etc.). Casting the ability without you or an ally standing inside it makes your blade wait for 2 seconds before activating the shield or until you or an ally walk into the area. This ability has a very long cooldown, but can turn the tides of many teamfights, skirmishes and even some trades in the laning phase if used at the perfect time.
Shadow Dash Taunting and damaging Dash + Energy recovery. Passively, Shen gains energy by damaging any attackable unit with his Q or E. When activated, Shen dashes, depending on cursor location, taunting enemies hit in the way for 1.5 seconds and dealing physical damage. Can be used to engage a fight or disengage even through some walls. This is Shen's only form of mobility so use it wisely.
Stand United Global Teleport and Shield for an ally. Casting Stand United on an enemy instantly gives them a shield based on your bonus HP, your AP and your allies current health (max value at 40% or below) and lasting for 5 seconds (assuming you don't die). After channeling for 3 seconds, teleport to you ally. This is Shen's most important ability since it can be casted from anywhere and can save teammates at any time, turning around a lot of teamfights and skirmishes or can be used as an engage tool if you ult an ally with decent engage (Malphite Ult, Hecarim's existance etc.). Using it correctly will come with a lot of time and practice.
Top/Mid Lane Runes

This Grasp page is the strongest page for Shen and gives him everything he wants. The Domination tree has always been seen as the best secondary tree, but the new runes that have been added to the Precision tree are a good alternative if you play against hard matchups or if you are a newer Shen player who is starting out. The Precision tree lets you get away with more mistakes, while the Domination tree awards you for being good at the game and playing Shen properly. Once you feel comfortable with Shen as a champion, you should ALWAYS go Domination secondary vs melee matchups, while Precision is always better against poke matchups.

Grasp of the Undying is the best keystone for Shen and has been for a long time. It not only gives you plenty of sustain and scaling health over time (which Shen definitely needs as a tank with HP scaling), it also grants you damage in form of a single burst auto attack proc, which synergizes perfectly with Shen's trading pattern early on. Would definitely recommend taking this keystone into every melee matchup since it allows you to dominate most of them early on.
Shield Bash is by far the best out of the 3 because Shen uses a lot of shields so you can proc shield bash at least once in every single trade you take, especially since Shield Bash gives you one empowered Auto Attack, just like Grasp so this strenghthens Shen's trading pattern even more. Additionally, Shield Bash also gives you resistances, which aren't anything substantial, but can help you in some close early trades to give you the edge over your opponent.
Second Wind gives you a lot of sustain in the laning phase through a heal over time after taking damage, which is not only great against ranged matchups where you will heal their poke, it can also be great in melee matchups due to your burst-heavy trading pattern, which lets you disengage really fast after a trade and heal back up if you took damage. It also synergizes extremely well with Doran's Shield, which you will take every game. If you really want to, you can take Boneplating against All-In champs that can't proc bone plating very easily from afar (Wukong, Jax, Sett etc.) or Conditioning if you want to gain resistances in the mid game, but Second Wind is my personal favourite rune and I recommend taking it every single game.
After many meta changes and rune reworks, I am confident in taking Overgrowth every single game since it's the best for Top/Mid lane at the moment. Titanic Hydra got its active back and is now considered a core item. Titanic's damage as well as 3 of Shen's abilities (P, E, R) scale with health, which means that overgrowth not only enhances your tankiness, but also your damage and gives you a lot more agency in the mid-late game. Revitalize's effects are just too lackluster when going for a full tank or carry bruiser playstyle and it's only worth taking when you have have an enchanter on your team or if you build a lot of healing/shielding items like Sundered Sky, Unending Despair, Spirit Visage and Eclipse. Unflinching got a weird rework and kinda sucks. If you don't want to think about it, go Overgrowth every game when playing Top or Mid Lane.
With Cheap Shot, you will do true damage on your targets in usually every single trade because you can proc it with your E and your Q drag-through since it slows your enemy and counts as "impaired movement". Makes your early game a tad bit deadlier. However, the changes that were done to Sudden Impact made the rune more viable for Shen against squishy opponents, while Cheap Shot remains better in longer fights. If you are unsure, then always take Cheap Shot.
After the removal of Ingenious Hunter, Ultimate Hunter is the only viable option in Top Lane because of how much CDR it gives for your Ultimate. Since this is usually the only reliable way to save your teammates from afar, having it on a lower cooldown is usually better. Relentless Hunter might be viable for Mid Lane, but also got nerfed so it probably isn't that great anymore.
Shen has always struggled with ranged matchups that poke him out of lane or hard matchups that take a majority of his HP for a single mistake, but the addition of Absorb Life has made him a lot less vulnerable to these matchups. This rune heals you if you kill minions, meaning that you can basically heal up by CSing under tower, while also blocking part of the poke damage with your Ki Barrier and Spirit's Refuge. Back then we were forced to either take the normal Grasp page and bleed over time or take Fleet, which isn't that great of a rune for Shen, but now we have a lot more options against not only poke, but also generally hard matchups or if you are a newer Shen player and want to play it safe. This way you can get away with a lot more mistakes and don't get bullied for a single missplay in lane. This rune also makes Shen Mid a lot more reliable (or even his strongest role in general) because you are a bit stronger against all of these poke champions, while being strong against assassins with Grasp. Great rune for Shen.
Shen now has 2 options for the Legend runes: Alacrity and Haste, which also change your rune shard options. If you take Legend: Alacrity, you want to take Ability Haste, but if you take Legend: Haste, you want to take Attack Speed instead. You do this to balance out your attack speed and ability haste, since your auto attacks have to work in tandem with your Twilight Assault (Q) cooldown. The problem with Haste is that it only gives you BASIC AH, meaning that you won't lower your Stand United (R) cooldown, which is why you want to take AH shard to somewhat make up for the loss of Ultimate Hunter. It might still be viable to go both Haste + AH, but is usually a greedy approach since it will be harder to CS and longer fights can be difficult if you don't manage your abilities correctly since your auto attacks will be close to useless without your Twilight Assault. Only take Legend: Haste with AS or AH if you want to play greedy and for yourself. Otherwise, if you want a safer, more consistent and team friendly approach, take Alacrity + AH.
For the first row, if you take Domination secondary, it's mostly preference between all of them. However, if you take Precision secondary, you want to take Attack Speed if you have taken Legend: Haste or take Ability Haste if you have taken Legend: Alacrity. Haste + AH is also viable, but super greedy and harder to use. For the second row, either take Adaptive Force for more trading power and better CSing or scaling health for more tankiness, choice is yours. In the third row, you can decide between Flat Health or Scaling Health. Flat Health is good for early fights and winning lane. Scaling Health is also generally good for Shen's scaling and is a must-have against losing matchups where you can't go for any fights and the flat health wouldn't have nearly as much value (it also outscales flat health at lvl 7 onwards).

Jungle Runes

Your Jungle Runes are a lot more variable because you can for example opt into taking Aftershock for a more supportive playstyle or Hail of Blades for more upfront burst in skirmishes, but I figured that Precision with Domination OR Resolve is the most consistent choice for me.

PTA got nerfed and Lethal Tempo got removed which is why they aren't viable anymore. However, xPetu has proven that Fleet Footwork is indeed a good choice because it provides insane healing and the movement speed can be crucial in certain fights or when chasing/fleeing. I personally dislike the Precision tree in general, but if you REALLY want to use it, then only take this rune.
Triumph is the obvious best choice for me. It heals you and gives you extra gold for takedowns and can definitely save your life in close call situations (nice synergy with Last Stand). Absorb Life is unnecessary in the jungle and you don't need extra energy from PoM, assuming you use your abilities correctly and don't throw them around mindlessly without hitting anyone.
After the removal of Legend: Tenacity, they have introduced Haste, which is by far the best choice. Alacrity was only viable because in certain games, tenacity was just useless and bloodline is always bad, but now that Haste exists, there is no reason to go anything else. Ability Haste is by far the best stat of the the 3 so it's just a no-brainer.
With the PTA nerf and removal of Lethal Tempo, as well as Fleet being the best choice now, it seems like Coup de Grace is the best option for Shen. While Last Stand has better numbers, it is way harder to proc and therefore does less damage on average, especially because Fleet + Jungle Items heal you quite a lot so you never get to be low health. Cut Down got changed and you still shouldn't take it.
With Cheap Shot, you will do true damage on your targets in usually every single trade because you can proc it with your E and your Q drag-through since it slows your enemy and counts as "impaired movement". Makes your early game a tad bit deadlier. However, the changes that were done to Sudden Impact made the rune more viable for Shen against squishy opponents, while Cheap Shot remains better in longer fights. If you are unsure, then always take Cheap Shot (However, Sudden Impact is better in the Jungle than Top or Mid lane so it might be something that you could consider).
After the removal of Ingenious Hunter, Ultimate Hunter and Relentless Hunter are the best choices for Jungle now. Ultimate give you ult CDR, while Relentless give you movement speed, which is probably better in the jungle. However, since the rune got nerfed recently, both runes are equally strong.
For Shen Jungle, you usually decide between Shield Bash and Conditioning, with the ladder giving you more mid-late game tankiness. However, I believe that the early power and synergy that Shield Bash provides plays a lot better into Shen's early game heavy playstyle and is therefore my personal recommendation.
Overgrowth enhances your scaling, your tankiness and your overall damage when you buy Titanic Hydra. Definitely my recommended choice for Jungle. Revitalize can be better in the early game, but in its current state, it will always be worse unless you go for a LOT of healing items AND have an enchanter on your team. Just go Overgrowth if you don't want to think about it too much.
The first row is between Ability Haste, which lets you use your Q a lot more, and Attack Speed, which lets you auto-attack a lot more (mostly personal preference). For the second and third row, you should always take either scaling and flat health or 2 scaling health, choice is yours.

Support Runes

The Resolve + Domination tree is in my opinion the stongest, but if this ever changes in the future or you want to play something different, I can recommend the Inspiration tree to you.

You should usually always take Aftershock, since you want to taunt your enemies a lot and aftershock compliments that playstyle greatly by making you tankier after imobilizing a target and deal damage afterwards. But if you play against an enemy with very long range that you probably can't taunt into (like Caitlyn + Morgana), then feel free to take Guardian to peel for your ADC because you won't be taunting into the enemy anyways unless you get a gank and you have to taunt-flash to reach your enemy. If not, ALWAYS take Aftershock.
Font of Life is criminally underrated and underutilized. It heals your teammates for attacking a target that you have taunted or slowed with Q, meaning that by playing aggressively with your taunts early, you give your ADC a lot more sustain and by that win more trades and all-ins. This can also be very useful later in the game because FoL scales with your max HP so it synergizes very well with Overgrowth. Shield Bash however is a lot better when taking Guardian since you won't be able to utilize Font of Life against high-ranged comps. This also gives you additional bonuses for your Guardian shield.
Second Wind gives you a lot of sustain in the laning phase through a heal over time after taking damage. As expected, it is also a great option in the Support role because you will most likely face ranged enemies in the bot lane, except if they play something like Yasuo, Samira or Nilah and an all-in support like Leona, Nautilus or Blitzcrank. In those matchups, you could consider going Bone Plating, but Second Wind is just so much better in my opinion, but feel free to decide based on matchup. If you take Resolve as a secondary rune page, don't take any of these runes. The others give you more value in my opinion.
All of those 3 are great options in the Support role so pick based on the situation at hand. If the enemy team has a lot of hard CC, consider taking Unflinching so you won't get bursted for tanking CC for your mates. If that's not the case, you can take either Overgrowth because it will make you a lot more tanky since you won't be buying that many health-based items anyways and it also increases your effectiveness of you Font of Life heal. You can also take Revitalize, since it not only increases your Ult/Passive shields already in the early game where it's the most important, it also increases your Guardian shield, your Font of Life healing and healing items like Redemption.
Glacial Augment is the only option in the Inspiration tree. You slow your targets after taunting them, granting you extra slow to your CC for the ultimate utility tech. However, it sacrifices your own tankiness after taunting from Aftershock with more tankiness for you ADC, but since they will be attacking you because of your taunt anyway, it's a bit weaker than Aftershock in my opinion. You could, however, take it over Guardian, not necessarily because of Glacial Augment, but because the Inspiration tree helps you to catch up to certain high-ranged opponents, but it's kind of held back by being a lot harder to use so I would recommend Glacial Augment with the Inspiration tree for more experienced Support players.
Hextech Flashtraption gives you an extra gap close tool to catch up to opponents much easier. This lets you be more loose with your Flashes and go for more Flash + Taunt plays. A bit hard to use at first, but definitely worth in the long run. However, the new Cash Back rune is a good alternative if you don't like Hexflash. It gives you part of your gold back after every legendary item purchase, which is great for a low-income supporter like Shen.
Honestly, they all kinda suck. The best one is probably Biscuit Delivery because of the sustain it provides, which can be insanely good against poke, which you will usually face in bot lane. If you take Inspiration tree as a secondary, don't take any of these.
Cosmic Insight not only gives you Summoner Spell Haste for more flashes, it also gives you Item Haste for Items like Locket, Redemption etc. and is the easier option out of those 2. The other one, being Approach Velocity lets you catch up to oponents faster via a speed boost from impairing an enemy, but is limited by either having an ADC that can impair any movement of the enemy (Jhin W, Twitch W etc.) or you being required to place your blade towards your enemies beforehand and pulling it to you, slowing the enemy and giving you movement speed. Very specific and hard to use rune, but definitely more worth if used correctly. Jack of all Trades might be viable but hasn't been tested enough yet.
With Cheap Shot, you will do true damage on your targets in usually every single trade because you can proc it with your E and your Q drag-through since it slows your enemy and counts as "impaired movement". Makes your early game a tad bit deadlier. However, the changes that were done to Sudden Impact made the rune more viable for Shen against squishy opponents, while Cheap Shot remains better in longer fights. If you are unsure, then always take Cheap Shot (However, Sudden Impact is better in the Support than in Top or Mid lane so it might be something that you could consider).
Ultimate Hunter is the biggest reason why we take Domination secondary. Your Ultimate Ability has such a long cooldown and because you can easily get stacks by ulting to your team and helping them, you will decrease a lot from your ultimate, which is your most important ability and can turn the tides of many teamfights. No reason to go anything else in my opinion.
For the first row, always take Ability Haste since Shen has long cooldowns and will use his taunt a lot. For the second row, take movement speed when playing Aftershock for better engages or scaling health when playing Guardian for a bigger shield and more tankiness overall. For the third row, take flat HP if the opponents DON'T have a lot of CC and take Tenacity + Slow Resist if they DO have a lot of CC.

Shen's itemization is very versatile. Being able to build tank items, support items, AD and AP Damage items is something that only a few other champions can do. This section will cover the best and most consistent item choices to win more games, but if you want to know about some off-meta item builds, look at the "Fun Off-Meta Builds" section at the top of my guide for more frequent updates in that department.

Early Game Items

Doran's Shield (Best Starter)
This is the best starting item for Shen by far. Doran's Shield gives you plenty of HP and sustain, making your laning phase a lot stronger. Since you usually go for short trades, you can heal up after a trade if you take damage. Additionally, ranged matchups become a tad bit more bearable with the extra sustain. I'd recommend taking this one every single game when playing Top/Mid Lane.
Ruby Crystal (Greedy Starter)
Ruby Crystal with 2 Health Potion is a greedier starting item option. It has a bit more HP and allows you to get certain (HP based) item spikes faster, but at the cost of your sustain. This starter is currently not viable and gets outclassed by Doran's Shield, but it is an option that could be viable in the future.
Doran's Blade (SUPER Greedy Starter)
If Ruby Crystal isn't greedy enough for you, you can take Doran's Blade + 1 pot and beat the hell out of your opponent during trades. This strat can definitely work against easier or even matchups. Keep in mind that one tiny mistake will put you SUPER behind and you'll probably be useless for the rest of the game, so keep this in mind and only take this if you are nearly 100% certain that you can win lane that way.
Mosstomper Seedling (Jungle Starter)
All Jungle items are viable, but I believe that this item fits the best into Shen's identity as a champion. It also has great synergy with Shield Bash.
Bloodsong (Offensive Support Starter)
This Support item is best against low-ranged and/or all-in champions. It incentivizes you to play aggressive early to make use of the additional damage and gain a lead that way.
Celestial Opposition (Defensive Support Starter)
If you took Guardian as your keystone and play against a matchup that doesn't allow you to taunt into them, then go this item. You can block a lot of damage with it.
Solstice Sleigh (Hybrid Support Starter)
If you can't decide between offensive and defensive, then take this item. It's heal and movement speed after impairing an enemy can be used offensively to chase them down or defensively by using the heal and movement speed to run away. However, this item will always be worse in offensive power compared to Bloodsong, as well as worse in defensive power compared to Celestial Opposition.
Tiamat (Waveclear)
If you want to rush Titanic Hydra, then Tiamat should usually be bought as soon as possible because Shen NEEDS a waveclear item to be a proper champion. It is not the greatest item in terms of stats + it makes it a lot more difficult to freeze a wave, but it is definitely the best early waveclear option. Being able to PROXY as Shen is only possible with this item and makes laning against tougher matchups a lot more pleasant. IMPORTANT: You NEED to have 1200g before your first base because buying long swords is not optimal. If you are forced to recall or die early, then buy Ruby Crystal because HP is a better early game stat for Shen than AD. If you are rushing Titanic Hydra, DON'T buy any extra items like Bramble Vest or Warden's Mail. This would delay your power spike by way too much.
Bami's Cinder (Waveclear)
Bami's Cinder is the other waveclear option for Shen. Stat-wise, it is a lot better than Tiamat, giving you HP instead of AD. However, the waveclear part of the item, while being easier to handle, is a lot worse than Tiamat and only helps your pushing power by a slight bit. This item builds into Sunfire Aegis or Hollow Radiance, meaning that you can choose between Armor and Magic Resist depending on the matchup (which is usually true, but since Sunfire Aegis is such a bad item right now, it is better to just hold Bami's Cinder for a while and build another Armor item instead). However, it does not build into Titanic Hydra, which means that you have to delay your power spike a lot by building it after Bami's or as a second item. If you want early game tankiness, dislike Titanic Hydra or fall behind early, then Bami's is the better choice.
Boots (Movement Speed)
Boots can be good when you are low on gold after dying/recalling or if you want to get to lane faster. They are also good in matchups where you need to dodge important skillshots (like Illaoi's Test of Spirit (E) for example). If you plan on rushing Titanic Hydra, don't upgrade your boots until you have your first item, but if not, you can upgrade them whenever you want.
Bramble Vest (vs healing)
Bramble vest can be helpful against champions like Fiora, Warwick etc. that rely on their healing abilities to be strong. However, in order to proc the grievous wounds, you need the opponent to auto attack, which can be hard against a Vladimir for example, where you have to taunt them for the effect to work. If you are fighting against healing mages ( Vladimir, Sylas), Ignite might be the better choice. If your lane opponent is the only one with healing, it might not be worth building.
Warden's Mail (vs auto-attackers)
Warden's Mail can be good against champions like Tryndamere, Jax, Vayne and other champions that purely rely on auto attacks for their damage. It also scales with with your max HP so Overgrowth will gain even more value. Combining this with Plated Steelcaps against auto-attack based team comps and you'll be indestructable. It builds into Randuin's Omen, which is very good vs crits champs, and Frozen Heart, which is insane against On-hit/DPS (even with the wasted mana). The only problem is that it delays your item spike by quite a bit, but it can be SUPER good if they have multiple champs like these. If your lane opponent is the only auto-attack based champion, then it might not be worth building this item.
Spectre's Cowl (vs heavy AP)
This item can be super helpful against hard AP matchups in lane (namely Mordekaiser, Gwen, Teemo and some others). Can even be built before Titanic Hydra to ensure that you don't fall too behind. This item also builds into Kaenic Rookern, which you should always build against AP champs.
Dark Seal (A LOT of AP when ahead)
A rare tech where you buy Dark Seal and hope that you can get stacks. This item is the best choice when you want to change your Adaptive Force form AD to AP (which can be good with some runes). AP mostly increases your ult, but also gives you a bit of bonus damage for your Q, but your auto-attacks themselves will be a lot weaker. Only build this if you know what you are doing. If you are a beginner, don't touch that.


Ionian Boots (Ability Haste)
Ionian Boots are the best in my humble opinion. Shen has VERY long cooldowns, but these boots allow you to have your abilities a lot more often in longer fights and greatly enhance your Q-Uptime (a concept that I'll explain further below). Since it also gives you Summoner Spell Haste, you can go for more Flash plays with your Shadow Dash (E), more All-Ins with Ignite and many more. Lastly, it is also 150g cheaper, which means that you can be more flexible with your recalls early on. The only downside is the lack of defensive stats that are usually provided by Plated Steelcaps and Mercury's Treads, but I believe that to be a worthy trade-off. You can never go wrong with these boots.
Plated Steelcaps (vs AD and Auto-Atackers)
Plated Steelcaps should be built against 4+ AD champs that are also auto-attack based. If not, these boots would lose most of their value. They work very well with Warden's Mail for an indestructable anti-auto-attack build together with your Spirit's Refuge (W).
Mercury's Treads (vs AP and Crowd Control)
These boots are, similar to Plated Steelcaps, best against 4+ AP and a lot of CC. Without enemy CC, these boots would be wasted gold. These boots could go very well with Wit's End, which together gives you so much Tenacity that you are basically immune and can often tank potent CC skillshots (like Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow (R)).
Boots of Swiftness (vs slows)
Rare tech against champions that utilize a lot of slows (such as Nasus, Olaf and Ashe). They are also very cheap and give you the highest amount of permanent movement speed, making it easier for you to engage if your team is lacking in that department.

Armor Items

Iceborn Gauntlet (Slow Utility)
Iceborn Gauntlet is one of the best Armor items for Shen. It utilizes Sheen, which synergizes perfectly with Shen's Twilight Assault (Q), and turns it into a slow field. This is great against high movement speed and high-ranged opponents that won't be able to run away from you, letting you beat them up in the process. The Sheen effect also allows you to take towers a bit faster with its additional damage. Lastly, you can not only use it offensively in teamfights to potentially catch and slow their backline, but also use it defensively by setting up the slow field to run from danger (you can also attack minions, jungle camps etc. to create the slow field). Very good item.
Sunfire Aegis (Damage over time and waveclear)
If you built Bami's Cinder as your waveclear item and your matchup is AD based, build this item. It gives you a lot of damage in longer fights, but lacks any sort of utility for you and your team. I wouldn't recommend building this item at all right now since it is REALLY bad. Buy Bami's Cinder if you need waveclear and go for another armor item instead.
Thornmail (vs healing and auto-attacks)
If you have built Bramble Vest, you can upgrade it to this item. While the healing reduction doesn't really get stronger, the item itself does a lot of damage against auto-attackers based on your armor. Combining this with other Armor items against a 4+ AD team will give this item a LOT of value, but other than that, it's kinda meh when it comes to reducing healing. Don't build it if they only have 1 or 2 healing champs and ESPECIALLY not if they aren't even auto-attack based (the effect will only proc on auto-attacks). I rarely build this item right now since it doesn't feel that good.
Randuin's Omen (vs Crits)
This item can be upgraded from Warden's Mail, but it NO LONGER has the "Rock Solid" passive. It still counters crit champions though ( Tryndamere, Gangplank, Yone, Yasuo etc). Not only do crits deal little damage to you, but you also gain an active that slows the enemy within a certain radius, which can be very beneficial against crit-based ADCs (even better after the buffs). Don't fall into the trap of building this into On-Hit damage ( Vayne, Master Yi, etc.) or you will greatly decrease the value of the item.
Frozen Heart (Attack Speed Slow)
Frozen Heart should only be built into AD heavy comps where any of the armor items above don't have much value. The mana will get lost from Shen not utilizing it, but in some games it is probably necessary. This item also has insane synergy with Unending Despair because the passive from Frozen Heart will actually proc the heal from Unending Despair, making it a strong combo against On-Hit/DPS champions like Bel'Veth, Master Yi, Viego and ADCs that build items like Blade of the Ruined King and Guinsoo's Rageblade.
Unending Despair (Healing over time)
An offensive Armor item that gives you a lot of value in longer fights due to its sustain every few seconds. This item also has incredible synergy with Frozen Heart, which has already been mentioned above.
Dead Man's Plate (Ramping Movement Speed)
Very fun armor item that gives you movement speed for better rotations, engages and potential one-auto-bursts. Recent community effords have made this item look OP as well as an option if your team lacks any sort of engage.

Magic Resist Items

Kaenic Rookern (MR Shield)
By far the best Magic Resist Item at the moment and completely overtuned with 80(!) Magic Resist + a giant shield that scales with max HP and therefore has great synergy with Overgrowth and Shield Bash. Always prioritize this item when the enemies have AP (with the exception of Wit's End).
Hollow Radiance (Damage over time and waveclear)
This item is the MR equivalent of Sunfire Aegis and should be built if you rushed Bami's Cinder since this item is actually good compared to its Armor counterpart. However, it trades a bit of its damage over time with better waveclear, letting you LITERALLY one-shot a canon wave with this item and Titanic Hydra.
Abyssal Mask (MR + Flat Magic Pen)
This item gains the most value when both teams have AP damage. The MR from the item and its passive will tank you from their AP damage while you amplify your teammate's AP damage by reducing the enemy's magic resist. Very good item given the right circumstances, even after the nerfs.
Force of Nature (MR over time and movement speed)
Worse version of Kaenic Rookern. It gives you similar MR, but it takes a bit of time to reach that value, which also depends on if the enemy has CC or not. Only build this against 4+ AP and CC.
Spirit Visage (Heal and Shield amp)
This item sounds good on paper, but is reliant on you having additional sources of healing such as an enchanter ( Soraka, Lulu, etc.) or Ocean Dragon. The low MR on this item makes you kind of squishy compared to other MR items. Only build this when the perfect circumstances are given.
Quicksilver Sash (Cleanse)
Super niche item vs Malzahar's Nether Grasp (R), Nocturne's Paranoia (R) and maybe Warwick's Infinite Duress (R). Only builds into Mercurial Scimitar, which is a very unoptimal item for Shen. Sell it in the late game because in that stage of the game, these champs usually focus your carries instead of yourself, diminishing the item's value entirely. (IMPORTANT: THIS ITEM NO LONGER WORKS ON Mordekaiser's Realm of Death)

Other Tank Items

Heartsteel (Infinite HP Scaling)
On first glance, this item seems OP on Shen, but it actually turns out that it is HORRIBLE! Let me explain: You need to get this item as early as possible so you can start stacking in the mid game and be OP in the late game. However, this requires you to either skip your waveclear item (making you not able to control waves and potentially not gaining gold fast enough) or buy the item after your first (waveclear) item, which means you'll get it WAY too late into the game. By the time you have like 2 or 3 stacks, the game is already over and you either won without doing anything or lost because you didn't do anything. Don't get me wrong, if it somehow works out, it can be super fun in the late game, but if you want to win, don't touch this item.
Jak'Sho, The Protean (Resistances over time)
Probably the best late game tank item right now. It gives you SO much resistances, especially in longer fights, making you near indestructable in the late game. You can theoretically always build it as a 4th or 5th item and it will always be useful.
Locket of the Iron Solari (Shield vs burst)
This item, similar to Jak'Sho, The Protean, gives you both armor and magic resist. But this item is better against burst because of its active shield that applies on you and nearby allies. It is also a LOT cheaper than Jak'Sho, The Protean so if you fight against a lot of assassins and burst mages, consider buying this item (commonly built as a first item when playing support).
Warmog's Armor (Infinite HP regeneration)
The healing this item provides is very good for splitpushing and fights where you go in-and-out. However, it loses HARD to maxHP damage and is overall very lackluster in the current moment so watch out when buying this item (it is one of my personal favourites tho).
Sterak's Gage (Anti-Burst)
If teamfights are rather short and burst-heavy, then consider buying this item in the late game. The shield scales with bonus HP, meaning that it synergizes with Overgrowth, as well as Shield Bash due to the shield size (very similar to Kaenic Rookern). You also gain tenacity, which is great against CC chains, as well as some extra AD for more combat power. Very underrated item.

Damage Items

Titanic Hydra (Damage and Waveclear)
This is THE BEST Shen item in the entire game in my opinion and also my favourite. This item gives Shen a lot of dueling power, letting him fight enemies that he usually shouldn't. The waveclear is INSANE, letting you nearly one-shot waves as Shen, especially through its active! Let's talk about the active real quick. The cleave is HUGE and therefore allows you to clear waves and camps super fast + it does good AOE damage in teamfights. The best thing about it is the auto-attack reset. You can use the active to go for a super quick burst that can potentially 100-0 squshies and tanks alike while also being skill expressive. I could ramble about Titanic Hydra all day, but all you gotta know is that this item has saved Shen and is literally the reason why I gained the motivation to finish this guide. Do yourself a big favor and buy this item 1st or 2nd every single game. It is a mandatory item for Shen.
Overlord's Bloodmail (HP into AD conversion)
This item rewards you for building a LOT of HP by giving you AD for it (similar to Titanic Hydra). Combining this item with Overgrowth, Heartsteel or Warmog's Armor can make you SUPER strong in the late game, but it hasn't been tested yet so be careful when building this item.
Wit's End ( Mercury's Treads, but as a damage item)
Wit's End is the best damage MR item out there. It synergizes perfectly with Titanic Hydra because of the high attack speed paired with hydra's on-hit damage. Build it if you want to carry.
Hullbreaker (Splitpushing)
This might seem like a joke at first, but Hullbreaker is actually kinda nice for Shen. He has always struggled with side laning due to many broken Top Lane champs that can easily kill you in a 1v1, as well as Shen's lackluster tower damage. This item removes all of these problems to an extend, giving you a lot more agency in the sidelane with its stats. Since the range limit has been removed, Shen can now use Stand United (R) without losing all of these stats and can even siege towers together with his team a lot better. Very underrated item.
Riftmaker (Damage and omnivamp over time)
I LOVE building this item as one of my last items if I encounter a lot of tanks/bruisers or if the fights are generally long. The item's effects really start hitting when fights go longer than a few seconds. Not only are you basically unkillable with the Omnivamp, but the HP to AP conversion makes your Qs hit a LOT harder, as well as make your Stand United ginormous, especially later on when you have bought a lot of items that contain HP. Really underrated item, but also very situational.
Sundered Sky (Crit Damage with Heal)
This item is basically Divine Sunderer, giving you a LOT of combat power as well as sustain, making it good in short and long trades equally. However, you are going to be VERY squishy and you will not be able to utilize this item's full potential if the enemy just statchecks you. Only build this (as a 2nd item AFTER Titanic Hydra, NOT before) if you got ahead early and want to carry the game by yourself.
Edge of Night (Spellshield)
"Wait... WHAT IS A LETHALITY ITEM DOING HERE???", I hear you ask. Well, for those of you unaware, Nocturne is seen as a direct Shen counter because his Paranoia (R) blocks our Stand United with its nearsight effect, making us unable to save our teammates from him. However, as it turns out, the spellshield that this item provides actually BLOCKS Nocturns Ultimate, meaning that we can save our teammates as long as the Spellshield is active. The stats are also... ok. It gives us HP, which is nice, AD, which is alright, and Lethality, which sucks lol. Credit goes to GannicusTTV, who (probably) found this interaction and showcased it in his build guide.
Banshee's Veil (MR, AP and Spellshield)
I have expanded the Spellshield idea from Edge of Night and probably made it better. This item's Spellshield has the same uses as before so read the column further above if you want to know more (since that was the first one). The only difference are the stats. Instead of giving mediocre damage stats and a bit of HP, you instead get 50 MR (which isn't even that bad) and a whopping 120 AP for big Q damage and a HUGE Ultimate shield. The only big problem is the heavy price of 3100g. Very niche, but fun item that can be built if you value both damage and tankiness, as well as play against an AP-heavy comp + a Nocturne to block his Paranoia.

Support Items
(Disclaimer: These items are not limited to the support role and can theoretically be built in every lane)

Redemption (AOE Heal)
Build this item in longer team fights to get the most value out of the heal.
Knight's Vow (Protect Ally)
This item is similar to Anathema's Chains, but instead of debuffing an enemy, you buff an ally by marking him as "worthy" (usually your ADC or a fed ally). Damage that your worthy ally recieves will partially be dealt to you, while the damage that your worthy ally deals will heal you for a small portion. A super solid item when playing support.
Moonstone Renewer (Heal and Shield amplifier)
You can get the most value out of this item by building it 3rd after Redemption and Locket of the Iron Solari. This item greatly amplifies your heals and shields by either sharing a single target heal with another teammate to make it a double heal, or by giving one single ally a SUPER heal/shield if no other ally is around. These 3 items turn Shen into a healing and shielding monster, but you will lose ALL of your combat power, which forces you to ONLY heal and shield your allies. Can theoretically work in every role.
Trailblazer (Movement Speed and Engage)
This item is Dead Man's Plate, but as a support item. The trail actually serves a purpose and boosts your allys' movement speed, meaning that you can engage as a team! Build this item if your team lacks engage (and if the enemy has AD of course since it gives armor).
Mikael's Blessing (Cleanse)
With this item, you can clease and heal a teammate of yours. Take this item against (near) undodgable CC like Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow, Twisted Fate's Pick A Card, etc.
Zeke's Convergence (Offensive Ultimates)
This item got a tiny rework and lost its Mana in exchange for better stats, which means that Shen can finally use it! Zeke's creates a damaging and slowing aura around you when you are using Stand United, which makes it great with champs that have great engage such as Hecarim and many more (examples are in the Top/Mid lane synergies section). This item has great potential for all Shen roles.
Vigilant Wardstone (A lot of vision)
This item can store multiple control wards. Good last item if you need a lot of vision (best in high-elo).
Tips & Tricks

Even though Shen seems to be a super easy champion on the surface, he actually has quite a few tricks up his sleeve that a lot of people are not aware of. This part of the guide will go over every part of Shen's kit and how you can make the most out of his abilities.

Early Passive

Shen's Passive Ki Barrier usually has a 10 second cooldown after using an ability. However, successfully affecting another champion with an ability (look at the "Shen Ability Rundown" section for further details) will lower this cooldown by nearly half (depends on your level). That means that you can often go for trades or engage into fights a lot earlier than you think without losing any value for your shield.


Q-Flash is a very simple, but effective mechanic. Catching up to your opponent without having your Shadow Dash (E) is quite difficult. Q-Flash, however, lets you flash onto your opponent with your Twilight Assault (Q). This not only gives you 3 empowered Qs, but also slows the enemy, letting you finish them before they can run away. This is even better with a teammate that has to land a potent skillshot to CC the enemy. Slowing the enemy with Q-Flash will make it a lot easier for your teammate to hit their skillshot. IMPORTANT: You need to first press Q and THEN flash. This will make the combo a lot faster and less predictable.

Titanic Hydra Qs

The addition of Titanic Hydra's active has opened up a few more combos for Shen. With the active, you can cancel the endlag of your auto-attack and immediately attack again, which is absolutely broken with Shen's Twilight Assault (Q). If you EQ your opponent and then go for your 3 empowered Qs, you can perform the first auto-attack like normal, but then canceling the rest of the animation with the active and immediately doing your 2nd auto-attack followed up by the 3rd. This gives Shen insane burst potential that can kill certain enemies in just one rotation. But this trick does not only apply to champions, but also minion waves and jungle camps. By doing the exact same thing again, you can kill entire canon waves and AOE camps in a matter of seconds, not only giving Shen insane pushing power, but also a good jungle clear. To do these tricks consistently, I always put Titanic Hydra on my "2" button, but I've seen a lot of other Shen players putting it on "1" or any other button of their choice. As long as you can easily reach that button, it should feel natural to do these combos.

W skip for extra Q damage

In matchups where your Spirit's Refuge (W) is useless due to the enemy mainly utilizing abilities instead of auto-attacks, it is advised to put a second point into Twilight Assault (Q) for extra damage in trades and more pushing power. You will skip your W entirely, but in these matchups, it is definitely worth it. This is mostly used in the Mid Lane where you usually face mages and assassins instead of tanks and bruisers.

6-Q Combo

When trading as Shen, you usually Shadow Dash taunt in and get 3 empowered Twilight Assault Qs at max before disengaging. The 6-Q Combo, however, doubles that amount by letting you hit 6 empowered Qs successively. In the laning phase, you should usually put your blade behind the enemy to get empowered Qs without having to taunt. What you can do instead is using Q to drag your blade through the enemy and then waiting for your Q to be at around 1 second cooldown. You can then taunt into the enemy, hit your 3 empowered Qs and by that time, your Q should be back up again for an additional 3 empowered Qs. However, this combos is very situational since it not only requires you to have your blade placed behind the enemy, but you also need to hope that the enemy doesn't disengage after your first Q. It is especially hard to hit this combo against high-range opponents that stay at a distance anyway + you probably have to use your Q a lot to shield a bit of the enemy's poke. Still, the damage that you will deal is absolutely massive and going for it isn't all too risky.


This is a specific Twilight Assault (Q) setup that lets you deal the most damage to the first jungle buff and can be used when you are leashing as a Top Laner or when you are the jungler yourself. Firstly, you use your Q at 1:17, then again at 1:25. When the buff spawns, you use the 3 Qs you got from the previous Q and then Q again after the 3 auto-attacks. This not only gives you the most damage, but also grants you your Ki Barrier passive shield for additional tankiness. As a Top Laner, you usually shouldn't go for this kind of leash and just go for 3 Qs because you usually want to push for the level 2, but if you are the jungler, you should ALWAYS do this. (Developed by Shending Help)


Q-Uptime is a concept that has been developed by the one and only xPetu and revolves around Shen's Twilight Assault (Q) and how it works in tandem with your auto-attacks. Your Q is your most damaging ability and you want to have it up as often as possible in order to avoid having to use your normal auto-attacks in longer trades/fights. However, you do not want to have your Q up while you are still auto-attacking them with your prior Qs (with the exception of the 6-Q Combo). The most optimal Q-Uptime rate would be between 80-100% Uptime, meaning that after using your Q and auto-attacking them 3 times, your next Q should already be (nearly) up, giving you insane damage in long fights. To achieve this, you need to maintain the equilibrium between your Ability Haste and your Attack Speed. Too much Attack Speed will lower your Q-Uptime, meaning that you'll be normal auto-attacking too much (happens by far the most), while too much Ability Haste will cause your Q to already be up while you are using the other Qs. However, I have found out myself that you can easily achieve this by building Ionian Boots of Lucidity. These boots, along with other items that give you a little bit of Ability Haste, are already enough for a solid Q-Uptime at the percents mentioned above. Building more attack speed from there (items like Wit's End) will probably cause you to use 2 or sometimes 3 extra normal auto-attacks, but this will overall still be fine, especially because you will not be auto-attacking a stationary target in real matches, but rather kite and reposition during fights, which alone will bring your Q-Uptime down if you happened to go over 100% Uptime. While this isn't a fancy mechanic or something along those lines, it is still a cruical concept that will help you understand Shen's maxium damage output and how to use it to its fullest potential.


Most Shen players use their Spirit's Refuge (W) on themselves to shield themselves (or nearby allies) from melee auto-attacks or On-Hit effects. However, since the W shield is on your Spirit Blade, you can actually shield your teammates by using Twilight Assault (Q), but pressing W right before that. The shield will only activate when you or an ally is standing inside of it, meaning that it activates as soon as possible mid-flight when you hit an ally from far away. Protecting allies like this will cause the W hitbox to become disjointed and can even protect allies when the shield is already past them. Q-W-Protecting is probably the most specific mechanic to use, requiring you to setup your blade in a very specific situation and having your teammates play around it. In most cases, your allies will just chill next to your spirit blade, allowing you to W when for example a Rengar jumps onto your ally. Using your W like this creates a whole list of new optimizations to protect your teammates in teamfights, but this will require a high amount of time and patience to fully master.

(video clip coming soon)


P-W-Overlapping is one of the most common mistakes that Shen players, even in high elo, do. When trading, most Shen players will use their Shadow Dash (E) to engage and then their Twilight Assault (Q) to deal damage. Immediately after, most Shen players use their Spirit's Refuge (W) preemtively to shield them from auto-attacks. However, this is wrong. When trading like this, your Ki Barrier (P) shield will get activated from the trade. Using your W during the shield will cause your passive shield to be useless and not block any damage. What you instead should do is waiting for your passive shield to run out or get destroyed before using W. This will greatly decrease the amount of damage that an auto-attack based champion will deal to you. But what if the enemy isn't auto-attack based? Wouldn't the W be useless? In those kind of matchups, you don't actually use your W to protect yourself, but rather to activate your Ki Barrier. At the end of a trade where your Q and E are down, but your passive shield is up, you can use W to activate the shield, which can be very beneficial in close-call situations. Always think about your passive and how you can activate the shield as often as possible.


E-Flash is probably the most known and utilized Shen mechanic. Using flash after using your Shadow Dash (E) not only gives your E a lot more range, but it also makes it harder to react to. This is a core mechanic and should probably be used every single game to catch opponents that you usually wouldn't be able to reach.

You can even use it to hit multiple targets by using E on one target and then flashing onto another one, which can be super beneficial in clutch situations and just looks cool.

Saving your E

Your Shadow Dash (E) is your only mobility spell and wasting it can be detrimental for you and can cost you a lot of kill opportunities. You need to understand that you don't HAVE to use your E to engage into fights. At any given opportunity, using Q-Flash or another ally's CC or slow can already be enough to kill an enemy while still allowing your to chase them when they flash away or disengage when the fight doesn't look winable. It is also important that you don't overlap CC by taunting an already CC'd enemy. You usually want to wait for the inital CC to end before thinking about taunting. This way you'll maximize the amount of time that the enemy is CC'd for. Use your E wisely.

Towercrash Taunt

The towercrash taunt is an advanced trading pattern that lets you poke the enemy under their turret without taking much damage yourself. In order to do that, you need a minion wave under tower to initially tank the tower for you. You then walk under the turret with your Twilight Assault (Q), Shadow Dash (E), your Ki Barrier (P) ready and set, and can even stack up your grasp beforehand. You then drag your blade through them, auto-attack them once with your empowered Q and cancel the rest of the animation by taunting out of the turret. If you want, you can even auto-attack them another time before disengaging. That way, you damage them with empowered Qs while either avoiding the turret shot completely or tanking the shot with your Ki Barrier. The enemy will be missing CS during that time and also be a lot lower on HP, allowing you (with or without your jungler) to dive them and further push your lead. This mechanic isn't as strong as before because some minion changes from a bit of time ago make the minion hit the tower instead of the enemy after doing the towercrash taunt, but this is still a great mechanic that enhances your laning phase in Top and Mid Lane. IMPORTANT DISCALIMER: This mechanic is a lot harder with Bami's Cinder since you will automatically deal damage to the enemy as soon as you get near them. You not only need to perform the towercrash taunt very quickly, but will also most likely tank 1 or 2 tower shots extra. I wouldn't recommend going for it if you have Bami's Cinder, Sunfire Aegis or Hollow Radiance.

(video clip coming soon)

Consistent Ultimates

Did you ever find yourself in a situation where you wanted to use Stand United (R) on your ally, but you had problems with your camera or you couldn't hit your ally because they were dashing around, leading to them dying?. No worries, because there are 2 ways to fix this.

1: Your F-Keys (F2-F5) lock your camera onto an ally, letting you ult them regardless of their or your camera's position. But hitting your F-Keys is very inconvenient. That is why I have rebound by F-Keys to Space Bar, C, X and Z (Y for be because of the different layout). With that, you can easily keep track of your teammates by sliding your thumb to the corresponding button for the champion. You can rebind your keys however you want, but as long as your are comfortable with it, it should be fine.

2: If you don't want to rebind your F-Keys, there is a second solution. The champion portraits that are usually above your map can also be used to ult to your allies. This is even more accurate than the method mentioned above since the portraits are stationary, but it might be harder to keep track of what is happening when you don't move your camera.

In the end, it comes down to personal preference.

Reactive Ultimates

Reactive Stand United is Shen's ult in its intended form. Reactive means that you only ult at given situations (the enemy jungle ganks your bot lane, your adc gets jumped by an assassin, your jungler gets caught out while invading etc.). The key to reactive ultimates is knowing when to ult. In most cases, you want the enemy to fully engage before ulting. This not only means that the enemies wont have an escape route, but also that the ally you are ulting is lower on health, meaning that your shield gets increased and can block a lot of additional damage (even though it might not be enough sometimes). The problem with reactive ults, however, is how limited they are. The most common problem when playing in lanes is that your ally needs your help, but your wave state is bad (usually when a big wave is slow pushing under your tower and you don't have teleport). These cases are always a lose/lose situation since you either need to sacrifice your allies life or a giant minion wave. I would always recommend to NOT ult because it is never guranteed if the play you are ulting to is worth it, but getting the minion wave is usually 100% guranteed. Another common problem is that reactive ults are not well communicated with most Shen players. Most people don't anticipate Shen's ult when it's not communicated beforehand so what happens is they flash away while Shen ults them, meaning that the ult is essentally wasted (some people even flash like a second or 2 AFTER getting ulted because they are physically blind or whatever). This means that you also need to keep track of your teammates summoner spells and save your ult as the VERY LAST escape option from a bad fight. With experience, you'll be able to anticipate the enemy's plays and can ping beforehand so your teammates know that you plan on ulting to them.

Another important thing to know is who to ult. Your first priority for reactive ults should be a shutdown on a teammate. If you want to save a teammate, but there are multiple teammates in danger at once, you need to set your priorities right. Ulting your 4/0 Vayne who is getting ganked by the enemy jungler is probably more beneficial than ulting your 0/5 Katarina that dies solo again. Wasting Shen's ult is one of the biggest mistakes you can do, but it's also one of the most common mistakes. Knowing when and who to ult reactively comes with practice. Your understanding for ult timers grows together with your fundamentals and understanding of the game.

(video clip coming soon)

Proactive Ultimates

Stand United isn't just limited to reactive plays and can actually be used proactively. Instead of waiting for something to happen and reacting with your ult, you already start ulting beforehand and create plays with a teammate. One good example for this would be some sort of diver or generally a champ with good engage ( Hecarim, Nunu & Willump, Rengar, any engage support, etc.). This way you can setup your wave state beforehand by letting your team know that you are pushing in the wave and then want to ult an ally that engages into a fight. This strategy is even more effective with champions that utilize stealth ( Kha'Zix, Twitch, Evelynn etc.) because your ult will essentially be invisible to them until you arrive out of nowhere. The only downside with proactive ults is that they are not always possible due to a strong toplaner that keeps pushing you under your turret or teammates that won't cooporate, which is why this strat gets better the higher elo you go because high elo players actually understand what you are trying to do (+ premates will be super op since you can communicate better). While proactive ults are a lot harder to do, they give you the most value out of them all and can give you a lot of free wins if everything works out according to plan.

(video clip coming soon)

Melee Ultimates

Stand United is not only a global mobility spell, but is also very good at protecting allies with its giant shield. In teamfights, if one of your allies gets jumped on, you can ult them even if you are standing besides them, which gives them a massive shield. You then either teleport to them or don't if you get canceled by CC, which are both fine for you. However, since your ult has a super long cooldown and takes a bit of time to channel, it is advised to use your ult after using both your Spirit's Refuge (W) and Shadow Dash (E) as a "final option" to protect your allies. You can also ult right before you die because dying doesn't cancel the shield. This way, you'll actually be able to be useful while dead (similar to Karthus and Sion) and can turn around some teamfights. Very important mechanic that should be used in most teamfights.

(video clip coming soon)
All Shen Roles

The final chapters are going to cover Top, Mid, Jungle and Support. I'll talk about how to play the Early, Mid and Late Game as well as your mindset when playing the different roles since (nearly) all roles play completely different from each other. Since I am not really proficient in every role (except Top/Mid), take everything that I say about Jungle and Support with a grain of salt.

It is also important to not that not every role is equally strong for Shen. Depending on the current balance of the game as well as Shen himself, certain roles will become better or worse. Here is a tier list so you can better understand which roles are stronger/weaker, including an explanation for every role so you can understand why I ranked them like this.

S-Tier: Top Lane has had some major changes in season 14, which have positively affected Shen's Top Lane presence. Void grubs, map changes, item changes, rune changes and many more have indirecly buffed Shen, as well as a direct buff to Shen by 4 AD. Shen can now properly push waves with Titanic Hydra and can take towers a bit faster than before due to the addition of void grubs. Your early game lead against the enemy top laner can finally be translated into either top AND bot lane objectives, giving you a lot more freedom. Shen isn't forced into a supportive playstyle anymore and can now build Full-Tank, Bruiser and Supportive, without one being superior to the others. I believe that Shen can finally play Top Lane again without getting shafted by OP Top Laners. I'd always recommend going Top Lane.

A-Tier: Mid Lane still works in season 14 and is a very underrated role. It plays very similarly to Top Lane, but you'll have a better map presence in exchange for worse matchups, which are mostly ranged matchups that are trying to poke you. However, if the enemy mid picks an assassin, you are going to have a great time since Shen as a tank directly counters assassins. You can also go for Ignite a lot more often than Top Lane because you can get to lane faster and are not that much reliant on a good wave state and don't get punished too hard for roaming since most mid laners don't really have good auto-attacks compared to top laners. There are definitely arguments for Mid Lane also being in S-Tier, but since we don't have a great response to perma pushing mages (that are more common in mid compared to top), I'd keep it a spot lower for now.

B-Tier: Support Shen, although rarely seen, is actually not that bad and makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Shen is a supportive, selfless champion by design and fits really well into the role. He is very strong in the early game with his taunt and can therefore play very aggressively (similar to Nautilus or Leona) with an aggressive ADC like Draven or an early game Jungler like Lee Sin. His roams are also very effective, with him being able to taunt and slow the enemy laner/jungler as well as ulting to lanes that are very far away (for example saving your top laner to then secure void grubs). However, Shen is also very good at playing passively (similar to Braum) with his Ki Barrier shield that can face tank a lot of damage, as well as his Spirit's Refuge that can block many auto-attacks and on-hit abilities, and his Stand United, which can save teammates that are getting engaged on. Shen also has build variety in support, able to build like a tank or even supportive items like Redemption since Shen synergizes with Heal & Shield Power. The biggest downside with this role is that he is sort of a "jack-of-all-trades" support and doesn't really accel at anything. His engages and disengages will always be worse than Nautilus or Rakan and his healing and shielding will never come close to Soraka or Lulu. And also, because this role is so underutilized, I've put it down here, but it can definitely go up to A-Tier if played more.

C-Tier: Jungle Shen is honestly very underwhelming in its current state. With full clear being the meta, Shen has a lot of trouble to get ahead early with his super lackluster clear speed. Because of this, his income is extra low and often times, he is not able to get a Tiamat early and can barely get Bami's Cinder, if even at all. With invades and ganks being nerfed, Shen cannot utilize his strong early game at all, with him only able to watch as he slowly gets outfarmed and outscaled by the enemy jungle. I would not recommend picking Shen jungle in the current meta. HOWEVER: Due to recent community effords and xPetu having success with Fleet Shen Jungle, as well as LS creating a HoB supportive Shen build, this role could move up in the future.

D-Tier. Yeah... Bot Lane is a joke. The only time that Bot Lane works is with a fasting Senna, but even then it would just be Support Shen.
Top/Mid Lane

Top Lane and Mid Lane play very similarly, with the only big difference being the position of the lanes and matchups. Most of the things you'll be reading here apply to both roles unless stated otherwise. (This section will provide 1 or more videos for matchup demonstration and overall better visualization)

Early Game

Before the lane even starts, you have a couple different options. You can either 1: Look for an invade with your E (high risk, but high reward (better with engage support like Nautilus or Blitzcrank)), 2: Leashing your jungler (only Top Lane, you should usually just do 3 Q auto-attacks and then leave to contest) or 3: you can just run to lane and prepare for the matchup.

Against most melee matchups, you want to place your blade behind the minion wave, usually farther than the caster minions. If the enemy contests the wave, you punish them by pulling your blade through the enemy and hitting them with three empowered Q, then backing up. This trade, however, usually depends on the matchup. Against super weak level 1 laners ( Nasus, Yorick, etc.), you can even go for more auto-attacks and then place your blade behind the minion wave again, rinse and repeat. Against champions that can win longer trades (usually Conqueror users) OR against enemies with reliable disengage/ability to equally trade back, you usually just go for 2 (sometimes 3 if they are bad) empowered Qs to ensure that the enemy doesn't deal the same amount of damage to you. The goal of all this is the level advantage. By pushing the wave into the enemy, you ensure that you get level 2 before them, which is a big powerspike for Shen. You usually get your level 2 by killing the first melee minion of the 2nd wave, which is a very crucial thing to know because you can use this to bait the enemy into trading you. You want to save both your Ki Barrier and Twilight Assault and just walk up to the enemy, before the minion dies. The enemy usually doesn't realise this until it's too late. You'll get level 2 together with your Shadow Dash, taunt into them and use all of your empowered Qs in the process, then disengaging while blocking any incoming damage from the enemy or the tower with your Ki Barrier (DISCLAIMER: If the enemy laner plays SUPER passively under tower, don't force these kind of trades or you'll likely put yourself in a bad spot by overextending. You might take multiple tower shots and can get ganked by the enemy jungler if you are not careful. Only go for this if the enemy doesn't respect you). At this point, the enemy laner should be at least halfway low under tower, giving you 2 options. 1: If you have Ignite, you can try killing them by using Shadow Dash (maybe even go for E Flash), hitting your empowered Qs and igniting them. They will probably die and even burn their flash, but this is kind of a risky play and can get you killed if you are not careful. If you don't think you can kill them yet, you could go for a Towercrash Taunt to poke them a bit and make them lose CS. Option 2 is recalling, buying something nice and thining the wave that the enemy is pushing in. In order to stay ahead, you NEED to kill a lot of minions and zone the enemy laner from the wave. That way, you'll essentially checkmate them. They either stay for the wave and die in the process, or they recall and lose a lot of minions (even though they could have TP, but this shouldn't bother you if you recalled as well). From there, you can setup a freeze by killing most of the enemy wave, but leaving 4-5 minions alive so the wave stays in front of your tower, while keeping relatively high HP (usually done by utilizing your Ki Barrier and Spirit's Refuge to block attacks). Not only is the enemy laner forced to walk up for exp/CS, by which point you can zone them from the wave, but they are also a lot more gankable, while you are safe from the enemy jungler. By that point you can use your lead to either keep zoning the enemy laner, or go for plays around the map with your Stand United, further snowballing your lead and getting your laners ahead/keeping them from being behind.

However, this is the best case scenario and doesn't always happen like that in practice, especially if you are a newer Shen player. If you happened to play against a ranged opponent or a generally bad matchup, the lane looks a lot more different. If the enemy doesn't let you push early without taking a big chunk of your health bar of even killing you, you usually can just sit back and watch them push (in those cases, you should not place the blade behind the enemy so you can utilize your Ki Barrier a lot more (mostly against ranged MUs)). You want the wave to push to your tower so you can farm safely and start slowpushing it into the enemy tower. You do this by ONLY hitting the minions when they are LAST-HITTABLE. That way, you can slowly create a massive wave that the enemy can't contest, letting you recall and buy safely. Of course, this also depends on how the enemy reacts to your plan. Some players, mostly ranged opponents, will keep pushing the wave under your tower. This is actually GOOD for you because you can keep farming under tower (can be hard, but should be learned) and be safe from ganks, while the enemy is always gankable. This, however, also means that you can't go to any river skirmishes without sacrificing a large minion wave, which means that you can only ping your teammates away because the enemy top/mid laner is coming. However, if the enemy tries to thin out the wave that you are trying to slowpush (mostly hard melee matchups), you NEED to contest them or they'll setup a freeze and essentally kill your lane. You will probably lose a bit of your health (or even die if you do it too much), but the enemy will also lose a bit of health to your larger minion wave. This way, you can keep slowpushing and taking damage wasn't even bad because you are planning on recalling anyway. At this point, you might as well be level 6 and can use your Stand United to help your team since your lane is doomed anyway.

From this point onwards, regardless of how the lane went, you can look for potential Stand United roams (or regular on Mid Lane) to snowball your own lead or create a lead elsewhere, because most of the time you'll get outscaled by the enemy laner anyway and staying in lane and farming acomplishes nothing. The one exception, however, is if you entire team is already doing well and has a Shutdown. In that case, you usually want to safe your ult so you can use it reactively whenever a shutdown is in danger, because killing them would be the only way for the enemies to come back into the game. If that is not the case (you are even or behind), then look for proactive ultimates that can get you a lead. This can be a 4 man gank on the bot lane to secure a dragon, an invade to delete the enemy jungle from the game or anything similar (you can also just look for void grubs and are not forced to use ult). Mid Lane specifically is a great role for this because none of those plays force you to use you ultimate because of your position on the map, but this, of course, also depends on the matchup and wether the enemy mid keeps you under tower or not. The only big problem with roaming is that the enemy can just push waves and get plates (mostly applies to Top Lane because Mid Mages have worse auto attacks + you can get back to lane faster on mid compared to top). The only way to counteract this is by either having a wave so large that the enemy takes ages to clear it, or you need to make a play elsewhere that outvalues the gold that the enemy mid gains (double kill bot into drake, top + jgl kill into void grubs etc.). As long as you are trying to get you and your team ahead, you are not doing anything wrong (unless you are going for unnecessarily risky plays). Don't forget to return to your lane after a roam to catch the wave. This cycle repeats until the...

Mid/Late Game

At this stage of the game, you should usually go into a sidelane (top or bot) and splitpush. This sounds weird at first because Shen isn't really considered a "splitpusher" by modern standards, but as a Top/Mid laner that has a built-in teleport through Stand United, it is your duty to farm the sidelanes. Your goal, however, is not necessarily to take towers. While you can do that, it is inherently risky for Shen since his tower damage is very low and you can get caught off-guard if you don't apply vision correctly. Titanic Hydra and other items allow you to clear wave very fast, as well as duel the enemy depending on the matchup. The goal of this is crossmap pressure. You usually want to go Bot Lane when Baron Nashor is up or go Top Lane when a Dragon is up (this can vary depending on if the other splitpusher has TP or not, but is still a good rule of thumb). That way you can always TP to your allies incase a fight breaks out, while the enemy is busy with farming the wave, or everybody is at the fight, meaning that they'll bleed CS and get tower damage.

One exception to splitpushing is if either your Stand United or your Teleport (if you even have it) is on cooldown (even worse if you don't have Ultimate Hunter). In those cases, splitpushing on the other side of the map is very bad because you'll not be able to join a fight that could break out in front of an objective. In those cases, you either want to push the lane NEAR the objective or GROUP with your team, setup vision and prepare for a fight.

If there is no objective, but you still need to splitpush, you need to ALWAYS setup vision through Stealth Wards, Farsight Alteration and Control Wards. Since there is no objective to prepare for yet, the enemy can only farm or pick off overextended splitpushers like yourself. Always keep sure that you don't overstep the global minion line (I just made up that name, but it's an actual concept).

(picture of the map with the minion line)

If you are currently pushing bot and the top as well as mid lane wave are somewhere in the middle of the map, you do NOT want to push further than the middle of the map as well. Doing so can lead to you getting jumped by multiple opponents at once, costing your life and potentially your shutdown if you have one. The only time you can push further is if you team is also pushing alongside you on the other side of the map. That way, the enemy has to deal with multiple people at the same time and either has to split up (which raises your chance of living if they want to kill you), or they jump one lane, but lose an entire tower on another lane. NEVER push further if you are alone.

One important thing to remember is that all of this also applies to the ENEMY. If you see an enemy overstepping during the splitpush, you can look and try to ambush that enemy, which can be even more beneficial if there is an objective near them. It is not advised to 5-man-gank a feeding enemy midlaner on bot lane while baron is up. This would just be stupid. Try to capitalize on the enemy's mistakes while minimizing your own mistakes at the same time and only looking for plays that are likely to work and give you an advantage (towers, baron, drake soul). That's how you win games in League of Legends.

One final thing to mention is that if ALL of the sidelanes are pushed in, you can also look to roam and group with your team. You can then setup vision, objectives, tower sieges or an ambush (for example on the jungler in his own jungle so he can't smite away the next objective). As Shen in the late game, you are not that strong yourself and most enemies have seemingly outscaled you and can 1v1 you for sure. Look to engage and peel for your carries so they can clean the battlefield for you. Make sure that they don't die, no matter the cost. You can tank every skillshot and even ult them before you die so they can deal a lot of damage while they should be dead. Look to protect them while you siege turrents/inhibs and win the game through that. Always look at you win condition and play for it.

Example game 1: Shen Mid Lane vs Sylas (lost early, but got ahead late)

Example game 2: Shen Top Lane vs Fiora (how to dominate lane with Ignite against a hard matchup and translate that lead into other lanes to end the game at 20 minutes)

Example game 3: Shen Mid Lane vs AD Twisted Fate (behind on gold the ENTIRE game, but still won by capitalizing on the enemy's mistakes and acknowledging our win condition)

Jungle can be very hard in the beginning since it needs a very specific approach. As an early game champion, you don't want to just sit back, farm and "scale". You need to use your early power to get your team ahead and end the game early. As stated before, since I'm not a Jungle main myself, take everything that I say with a grain of salt.

Early Game

The most important thing to keep in mind is that Shen is at his strongest in the early game, meaning that you should ALWAYS focus on ganking instead of farming. You also have a very slow clear before Tiamat/Titanic so full clearing, even though it is a viable and safe option, is usually the worst choice and can lead to you getting outtempo'ed really quickly. If you recognize that a lane might get pushed in, doing a 3 or 4-camp-clear into gank might be the best choice and can lead to your ally snowballing.

Invading with Shadow Dash is an option, but is usually not recommended. As a laner, you are usually able to just sit back and farm minions until you hit Level 2, but as a Jungler, you NEED to have your Twilight Assault to have at least a decent clear. If the invade doesn't work out, you'll set yourself SUPER behind. Only go for invades with an engage support like Nautilus or Leona. Only level your E when you see a guranteed kill.

Some tips for your first clear: Going for the Triple-Q-Leash is mandatory to have at least a half decent clear. Starting on Red or Blue Buff depends on where you can make an early impact, as well as the enemy jungler. 3 or 4-camp-clears are good to catch people that don't ward a lot off-guard (or just take Sweeper instantly). If you path towards a lane that you can gank, make sure that the enemy jungler can't stop you (or they won't stop you either way if they are a farming jungler). However, if you path to a lane that pushes the enemy away AND the enemy jungler started on the other side (+ is preferably weaker early), then you can look to invade the enemy jungler since you have priority and your laner can follow you if something happens. You can also go for EARLY invades right after your first buff ( Shadow Dash can go over dragon and baron pit, making it viable), but you need to be 100% sure that the enemy jungler is on the other side of the map and is going for a full-clear. Always remember that YOU can also get invaded yourself if you are not careful. Always be ready for this when jungling against Lee Sin, Xin Zhao or otherwise strong early junglers that want to duel you. If, for some reason, you DON'T have the option to go for an early play (or just don't see it, which is usual in lower elo), then full clearing is also fine. Make sure to put a 2nd point into your Twilight Assault at Level 3 for a faster clear (you are healthy anyway). However, not going for early plays at all means that you wont be able to get Tiamat or sometimes even Bami's Cinder at all. You can theoretically circumvent this by taking Future's Market in your runes, but you'll usually give up too much combat power at that point because the other rune options are usually too good to pass up on. Once you have your Stand United, Shen Jungle can unleash his full potential. Being able to ALWAYS ult regardless of "lane state" (which you don't really have as a Jungler) is incredibly powerful because there is no minion wave that will screw you over when you ult at the "wrong time". This means that the enemy needs to be a lot more careful when going for plays because not only can you ult at literally any time, but you also can't get canceled because there is no enemy laner that can CC you in the jungle (there can be, but it's very unlikely and can usually be predicted). This means that you can literally gank 2 lanes back to back and also secure 2 objectives back to back. Make sure to not waste this power to save your inting support for ignite who dies to a dive anyway.

This cycle of looking for early plays to secure kills and/or objectives repeats until the...

Mid/Late Game

Your playstyle doesn't change all too much, with the biggest difference being Titanic Hydra or Bami's Cinder Items giving you a much better clear. Always make sure that you have a balance between farming and ganking so you are impactful while also keeping up in farm.

If your team is ahead, you can be more on the farming side and even look for invades if you think the enemy jungler has camps up. You should usually win most fights if your team is near you. Save your ult reactively and make sure the enemies can't get back into the game by killing your fed mate and cashing in 1000g shutdown. Make sure that EVERYBODY is alive and near the next objective in order to secure it. Your teammates can do most of the work if they are ahead, so make sure they do NOT die if a fight breaks out. Saving your ult and using it in melee range is sometimes even mandatory to ensure that you win the fight.

If your team is behind though, you should focus more on ganking. It is very likely that your laners are getting pushed in and the enemies are overpushing to the tier 2 tower. Help them get that shutdown so they can come back into the game. Using your ult proactively is recommended so you can engage on a fed carry and catch them off-guard (even better if you kill them before an objective). In most elos, the enemy won't play perfectly, so you can capitalize on their mistakes and act accordingly. For example, if half of your team is dead and the enemy goes for dragon, you usually won't be able to go for that objective and flipping might just put you further behind. Look for crossmap-plays. Take their top half of the jungle and push the top wave to maybe secure a turret. That way the enemy actually loses something for killing the opbjective instead of you dying to a smite flip and just dying while the enemy didn't lose anything. As long as you don't fall further behind, there is ALWAYS a chance to get back into the game, so don't just surrender after a single death in the early game.
Support, while not being as self-reliant as other roles, is still very underrated and a decent flex pick in Solo Queue. As stated before, since I am not as Support main, take everything that I say with a grain of salt.

Early Game

Before the lane even starts, you can go for an invade with your team. Your Shadow Dash + Flash is a great engage tool that can CC MULTIPLE opponents for 1.5 seconds. Since you usually start with your Taunt anyway, this play is the most rewarding when playing support. If you don't go for such play, just cover your jungler and maybe leash if you don't really want or can't contest the lvl 1 push.

The most optimal way to play the laning phase is aggressively with Aftershock. Shen is at his strongest in the early game and you want to utilize that strength to its fullest potential. Similar to Leona, you usually want to get the push early for the level 2 powerspike. Engaging level 1 will not give you enough damage since you don't have your Twilight Assault. If the enemy plays very far back, you can just go for a wave crash and gain a lot of options. You can look for invades with your early game jungler or even roam to mid lane to catch an unaware, immobile mage. You can also just stay, maye get plates and try pressuring the enemy when they go for CS, but you risk getting ganked by the enemy jungler. Your last option is recalling for HP, but you usually won't have a lot of gold and can maybe by Boots and a Control Ward at most. If your ADC is somewhat competent, you can setup a freeze and zone the enemy from exp and even kill them for trying to get CS. Make sure to push the wave in again if Dragon is up so you can secure it. If not, just try to always slowpush the wave so you have as much time as possible for roams and other plays. If you are away for too long, your ADC will get dove and int feed on purpose.

However, not all lanes can go that smoothly. There are matchups that just don't allow you to taunt into them due to their supperior range and/or reliable disengage or denial of your taunt ( Caitlyn + Morgana or any atillery mage). In those matchups, you are forced to go for Guardian as your keystone to more reliably peel your ADC from incoming poke damage, as well as a potential dive if you happened to get pushed in against an early game jungler. This is actually not that horrible. While you don't get to utilize your strong early game, guardian lets you scale better into the mid/late game and is overall better for the playstyle. As long as you don't lose too much gold and exp, you should always be able to get back into the game, especially if your jungler decides to gank your lane when you get pushed in. An E-Flash can be very benficial to catch an overextended ADC and get back into the game. The biggest downside is that you don't have a lot of agency and rely a lot more on your teammates than usual, but in those rare cases, it's the best option. If you somehow get a slowpush going and crash it into the enemy tower, then you have similar options as above (outside of freezing the wave since you are weaker than usual).

Mid/Late Game

Your playstyle changes a LOT when reaching the mid game. The enemies have started to outscale you and your engages become a lot more telegraphed, unreliable and overall risky. Your playstyle now changes from aggressive to passive. Your main goal is to protect your carries and keep them from dying while they tear everything appart. Help out your laners when they are in trouble and secure vision to prepare important objectives.

If you are ahead, you do NOT engage at all. Since you are ahead, you can just go for objetives whenever you like, but only as long as you allow your teammates to do exactly that. Make sure that nothing is stopping them from winning the game. Use your ult reactively, even in melee range, to ensure that nobody in your team dies. Items like Locket of the Iron Solari, Redemption, Knight's Vow and similar can be very helpful. Guardian will be a lot better in this stage of the game, but it isn't likely that you'll be ahead at this point (and you don't want to ONLY rely on your teammates, but impact the game early on so you can be in this position in the first place).

If your team is behind, then you are forced to become a lot more active. Using your ult proactively is mandatory to ensure that you don't stay behind and slowly bleed objectives and your LP. Items like Trailblazer can be gamechanging in this position, but sadly, it is still very hard to come back without a reliable team on your side. However, taking chances and risks is still better than doing nothing and slowly losing anyway. Your enemies will ALWAYS do mistakes in lower elos, so try to capitalize on them instead of looking for blind engages. Look for tiny advantages that can narrow down the gap between you and the enemy.

Example game 1: Smolder and Shen vs Jhin and Nautilus (With Aftershock as a rune)

If you have come this far, I want to thank you SO much for reading through my guide. I've started this thing a year or two ago, but never thought I would finish it (well... here we are). If you have any questions, just ask in the comment section and I'll try to answer as quickly as possible. There might be times where I'll be inactive and the guide will be outdated due to a lack of motivation or giant patches that change the game so much that I need more time to figure things out. However, even if I'm not actively playing, I'll still keep the guide fresh and new for y'all so you don't miss out on the latest runes and builds for Shen. Check out the "Patch Updates" section for first impressions when a new patch drops.

And finally, if I somehow decide to post more League content, you can find my social media here (depending on my current activity in the game, you might find something interesting, maybe not even League based):

Main YouTube:

2nd YouTube:


Special Thanks go to:

xPetu: I wouldn't even play Shen if it wasn't for the Shen GOAT. This man single handedly ignited my passionate fire for Shen, Off-Meta builds and League as a whole. A lot of concepts that I have learned originated from him and I can't thank him enough for inspiring me and many other with his videos. You will always stay my GOAT <3

Shending Help: My laning phase with Shen would never be as good as it is nowadays without him. His video guides as well as his spreadsheet have helped me a lot with numerous matchups formerly thought of as impossible for me. This man showed me how incredibly in-depth and fun Shen's laning phase can be and I owe him for that.

The many Shen OTPs: This goes to people like TheBlueNinjaShen, Gannicus, God Shen, IMainTopLane and many more. In xPetu's darkest times, your videos have been a great change of pace. From simple gameplay to full guides and off-meta builds, your videos have definitely kept Shen alive during times where he was very underwhelming, but you pushed through. Thank you so much for being here and PLEASE, keep pushing Shen's metagame. I can't wait to see more from y'all.

Coach Silphi/PlayersHUB Academy: When trying to get better at League a few years earlier, I have stumble across a german channel called "PlayersHUB", which had a lot of VODs with people getting coached by Silphi on how to play the game. His explanations were very plausible and he was also a very funny dude overall, which lead me to book a coaching myself. After our session, I was definitely brought back to the ground. It probably took me muliple months to fully understand everything that we have covered, but over time, I saw myself getting better and better, while applying the concepts that I have learned during the coaching. I probably wouldn't have hit Gold before all of my friends if it wasn't for his coaching. 5/5 Stars, would definitely recommend the PlayersHUB Academy to everyone who speaks german.

AloisNL: His videos popped up out of nowhere, but the way he explained and demonstrated Top Lane Fundamentals was insane. I could see the game in a much brighter light and found myself winning and snowballing more and more games when applying those concepts in my games. Great content, keep going!

Mobafire devs: The guides for BBCode and many more have helped me tremendously when creating the guide. It was very easy to understand and apply, which also made it very fun to create the guide, even though it took quite some time. Thank y'all very much!

and finally, YOU: Thank you SO MUCH for reading my guide! I hope I could bring your Shen to another level and I also hope that I can inspire a lot more people to play Shen in the future. Thank you!
Patch Updates
This section will cover future patches and how they will affect Shen (will not reference patches that aren't important)

Patch 14.11: Absorb Life, which is a new viable rune for Shen, actually gets better scaling, making it an even more prominent choice. Celestial Opposition doesn't proc off of Knights Vow anymore, making it a better choice for Shen Support since he usually builds Knights Vow. However, Knights Vow also gets a nerf, decreasing its HP and AH. It is still a great option for protecting teammates, but doesn't offer as many stats to you as before, making you weaker. Lastly, Statikk Shiv got buffed all over the board, got 100g cheaper and even gained movement speed. While it might be a much more prominent choice for Shen as it was before, it is probably still quite a bit inferior to Titanic Hydra and Bami's items.

- Precision Tree (only affects jungle): Lethal Tempo got removed and PTA slightly nerfed. Overheal got replaced with Absorb Life, which doesn't matter since we are going to take Triumph anyway. Legend: Tenacity got replaced with Haste, which is SO much better for Shen and should always be taken. Cut Down got a weird change, but we don't take it anyway. Instead, it is now worse against HP so we can build more HP items now.
- Domination Tree: Predator got removed, which is devastating for River Shen mains lol. Sudden Impact got a tiny change which makes it better for Shen, but still worse than Cheap Shot. Relentless got nerfed, which isn't great for Jungle. Ingenious got removed, which isn't great for Bruiser Shen players like myself. That means that Ultimate Hunter is always the best (except for Relentless maybe in jgl).
- Resolve Tree: Font of Life got slightly changed, nothing too crazy tho.
- Inspiration Tree: Cash Back replaces Futures Market. Only good for bruiser/tank builds, but not support. Time Warp got buffed, but is probably worse than triple tonic.
- Anathema's got removed, which is horrible for us if we are even/behind against scaling champs. Keeps us from making a comeback.
- Symbiotic Boots might be viable for Jungle and Support, but still unsure
- Overlord's Bloodmail is great and synergizes with Overgrowth, Heartsteel and Warmog's, as well as items that give HP in general. Great for Tank Shen.
- Some changes to ADC items and runes make building HP more viable in general
- Randuins loses Rock Solid, but gets more armor. Probably not that great for Shen.
- Abyssal Mask is a bit cheaper, but loses MR. Overall a nerf I believe.
- Knight's Vow loses armor, but gains HP regen and a better passive. Overall a buff.
- Bami's loses 100HP, but is 100g cheaper. Overall worth I believe
- Sunfire and Hollow Radiance lose HP, but get AH. A nerf for Shen.
- Mercurial Scimitar is now worth building if you REALLY want to keep the QSS.
- Steelcaps is 100g cheaper and gains 5 armor, but loses 4% AA-reduction. Now better against AD in general, but worse against champs like Vayne, Jax, Yone or Fiora (Auto-Attackers with AP or True Damage).
- Unending Despair loses 2s cooldown to make up for Ingenious removal. Great change.
- Warmog's gets 250HP, but loses half of its HP regen. Still worth tho imo.
- Zeke's is now viable with a good engager on your team. The biggest buff by far.
Other stuff:
- Ghost is getting nerfed. Only impactful if you regularly use this niche spell.
- Exhaust gets adjusted and heal gets buffed. Great for Support Shen.
- Azir W does no longer go through Shen W. HUGE for the mid matchup.

I will update my guide once I have time. This will probably take a week at max.

Patch 14.9: This patch introduces nerfs to bruiser/carry items that Shen can build. These include Steraks (more cost and longer shield cooldown), Sundered Sky (longer cooldown and less healing on passive (doesn't do much to Shen since he doesn't really use that much base AD)) and Eclipse (-2% maxHP damage). While I enjoy playing Bruiser Shen with these items, I can also understand the nerfs since these items were quite strong. Tank Shen seems to become stronger every patch so it might be better to focus on tankier items. Also, we got DIRCET SHEN BUFFS... in Arena. Not that great for people who enjoy regular league, but for Arena enjoyers, this is actually huge because Shen not only gains bonus health scaling with levels, but his Ultimate has been decresed to a 60 SECOND COOLDOWN, which is a highly necessary change for Arena and actually makes Shen playable in this gamemode! Overally nice patch for Arena Shen enjoyers, but not that great for Bruiser Shen enjoyers like me (honestly, nothing really matters here because next patch is going to be SO HUGE that I probably need to rework half of my ENTIRE GUIDE LMAO)

Patch 14.8: Not really any changes to Shen directly, but some system changes that indirecly affect Shen in the Top lane. Firstly, Mordekaiser's Realm of Death is now IMMUNE TO Quicksilver Sash, meaning that we won't buy it against him anymore and don't have any way to deal with his ult other than either beating him up (when you are ahead) or camping under tower and waiting for you jungler (when you are even or behind). However, this change is not as bad as it seeems because Quicksilver Sash itself is very unoptimal and not buying it is usually the better choice (I will also change my guide accordingly of course). Another important change was made for the Voidgrubs. Their spawns are a bit later (about a minute) and according to Riot, they want to align Voidgrub spawns with other champs lvl 6 powerspike, which means that it will be a bit harder for Shen to get them since he doesn't have a combat ult while most other champions do. Overall a nerf to Shen, but very minor.

Patch 14.6: DIRECT SHEN BUFF INCOMING!! His Ki Barrier passive cooldown refund finally makes sense now. Before the buff, the CD refund (which is caused by affecting champs with your abilities and is a big part of Shen's skill expression) was very random and only got stronger in the mid-late game, which isn't Shen's strong point. By making it more consistent throughout all levels, Shen gains a lot more personal strength in the early-mid game. I LOVE this buff because it only rewards SKILL EXPRESSION instead of just throwing raw stats that any braindead player can use. Mastering Shen's passive cooldown is a huge part of his skill expression in 1v1 combat and buffing it like that is great and actually rewards players that take their time to learn this champion. Thank you, Riot! When it comes to itemization, they removed the ability to buy Doran's items as a Jungler, which nerfs Shen's early jungling a bit since he could buy Doran's Blade early to carry the game. They also nerfed Solstice Sleigh even more, which makes it even less optimal than it was before. Bami's Cinder gains 1 extra damage, but loses 0.5% bonus health scaling, which is HORRIBLE for Shen, but great for everybody else who isn't a tank (but many other Epic Items got nerfed as well so it isn't that bad). Overall a great patch for Shen players that like to build more bruiser-like and carry games themselves, which I personally enjoy 1000x more than the tank builds.

Patch 14.5: Celestial Opposition got a tiny buff, while Solstice Sleigh got nerfed. Overall a nerf to Shen Support. Frozen Heart got rightfully nerfed, but is still strong given the right circumstances. Heartsteel got nerfed in the early game, but buffed in the late game. Still a bad item for Shen. Sunfire Aegis got an HP and Damage buff, making it fine to build again (even though the damage is flat and not scaling with HP). Finally, Spear of Shojin got a tiny rework that should make it IN THEORY work on Shen's Q since Attack-based spells now also grant stacks. However, for some odd reason, this does not apply to Shen's Q. Let's just hope that they fix this bug in a hotfix patch. Otherwise, this patch was ok for Shen, with some buffs, but also nerfs to his items.

Patch 14.4: Lethal Tempo lost some early game power, but scales better. This makes matchups like Yone and Yasuo easier to deal with in lane. Terminus stacks faster than before and might be viable for Shen (especially if paired with PTA/LT). Otherwise, a very insignificant patch for Shen.

Patch 14.3: Kaenic Rookern shield strength and cooldown got nerfed, but it's barely noticable. Sundered Sky got an AD nerf, but huge HP buff, making this item a LOT better for Shen and maybe even core 2nd item if it turns out to be broken. Titanic got a tiny HP buff, but they nerfed the active maxHP damage. This is only for the primary target, so dueling got weaker, but waveclear should still be as strong as before.

Patch 14.2: SHEN FINALLY GOT BUFFED... by 4 base AD. This might seem like a joke, but it's actually kinda nice. It enhances our early game by giving us more combat power, easier last-hitting, better pushing power and more tower damage. We definitely take what we get. They also changed the minor runes and made them a bit more Shen favored! Check the note for runes incase you want to know when to take which one.

Patch 14.1b: Not a lot happened here. They buffed Tiamat's AD, which isn't that beneficial for Shen compared to other champs. They nerfed Titanic Hydra's base stats a bit, but not the cleave passive/active so our wave clear is still strong with it. They also buffed Heartsteel by 100HP, but I'm not 100% sure if it is worth a buy, gotta try it out today and will update if it turns out very well (Update: Don't build this item).

Patch 14.1: They FINALLY brought back Tiamat and Titanic (which is currently overtuned and gets nerfed next patch) active, giving Shen his cool attack cancel burst combo and a lot of waveclear without being reliant on Bami's, speaking of which, they also removed mythics, giving you a LOT more freedom in your build paths and making off-meta builds easier to create. So I updated the entire item build sections for every role and will keep updating it with the future item changes. Shen now has an easier time playing Top Lane because he can play aggressive early with Ignite again and actually solo-carry the game with Titanic. Void mites allow him to have more impact early on the map without being reliant on his ult + allowing him to take towers more reliably. They also added lore quest for some champions, including Shen, who gets an extra 30% increase to his KI-Barrier passive shield (not that difficult to get because Shen is good vs Zed and Zed's AH-items are gone, making it a lot easier than before). Shen is overall in a great spot starting this season and I can't wait to see how his meta develops. Not being forced to play supportive only is a huge deal and makes Shen a lot more enjoyable to play (especially because of the skill expression involved when building Titanic).

Patch 13.23: Turret gold got buffed again, basically neglecting the change they made a few patches ago and nerfing Shen again lol.

Patch 13.21: Hullbreaker is getting nerfed, but still seems to be strong. Let's just hope to god they remove the item at some point. I also updated the runes to give you more options as well as the items to fit into the current meta. Items like Iceborn Gauntlet and Jak'Sho feel pretty good and it seems like you aren't forced that much into a supportive playstyle. Try them out for yourself and let me know! (Credit for my inspiration goes to IMainToplane, goated Shen player)

Patch 13.20: Not really any direct Shen changes, but a lot of other changes that indirectly affect him. Turret gold is getting nerfed, meaning that roaming around the map early on isn't as punishing anymore. However, early drakes are getting nerfed, which means ulting to secure the first few drakes isn't as worth it anymore (in Top Lane). Most runes are getting nerfed later on, except Grasp, which means it is overall a bit stronger and better for Shen. Doran's items (including DShield) are getting buffed a lot so you might opt a lot more for DShield instead of Ruby Crystal, even against melees. Jungle is getting nerfed, which means Shen Jungle is even more **** pls never play this unless Shen gets direct monster damage buffs. Death Timers are also lower, which might make early kills not as impactful anymore. Let's just hope riot listens and fixes Shen (they are already rescripting Fiora so we might be able to block vitals with W again).

Patch 13.18: Guide rework after a little hiatus. Added new runes and updated my item section based on the current state of the game. I also acquired more experience and knowledge about Shen Mid and can confidently say that this is Shen's best role by a landslide. Try it out for yourself!

Patch 13.6: SHEN FINALLY GOT THE SKIN WE WERE WAITING FOR! Oh and also no relevant balance changes

Patch 13.5: Grasp got a little nerf to it's healing, but in return, you receive more HP per proc, which is quite nice for Shen's scaling. Triumph now heals off of your max health as well as missing health so it's overall better for Shen. Plated Steelcaps got buffed because they were a lot worse than we thought. Now they are actually good, but still worse than Ionians (except if you play against full AD/Auto-Attack based teams).

Patch 13.4: Doran's Shield got nerfed, diminishing our early power in lane quite a bit, especially against ranged enemies. However, I've already thought of a good alternative to Doran's Shield. Both support items for Shen got buffed, giving you a lot more health regen, which helps against poke laners.

Patch 13.3: Iceborn Gauntlet finally received it's bug fix and properly works on Shen, meaning it's actually a viable option! Radiant Virtue, while getting nerfed for most tanks, got even stronger for Shen since his Ult cooldown is super high by default so he just gets more stats for free. This item is a must-build in my opinion if you want to play like a supportive tank (the heal and ability haste amp removal is still a nerf tho).

Patch 13.1: Nerfed Jak'Sho so it's no longer OP, but "just" strong. It has been discovered that Radiant Virtue is super strong so build that. Iceborn is apparently still bugged for Shen (not applying the debuff if you are shielded) so don't build it until it gets fixed.

Patch 12.23: They buffed Sunfire! It now cost 100 gold less and also gives you 100HP more, very very neat. They also buffed a lot of tanks this patch and Shen is generally good against tanks. Overall pretty happy with the changes.

Patch 12.22: PRESEASON PATCH! New Top Lane tank mythics are out, guide will be updated a lot over time, but right now, Jak'Sho and Heartsteel are the best imo, Radiant Virtue felt kinda lackluster to me and a bit too support focused. IBG feels weird because no MR and it lost synergy with Demonic, probably wont build this item ever again. You should still take bamis cinder and build it into sunfire, pretty good item on Shen (or build tiamat into titanic if they literally have no AD). You don't need a damage item anymore and can go straight into tank items. Randuins and Frozen Heart are both viable now in the right circumstances. Turbo Chemtank is super situational and is basically Dead Mans, but against AP. Abyssal Mask got changed and is no longer viable in my opinion. Gargoyle might be super strong combined with the new tank items. We'll see how this turns out over the preseason.

Patch 12.20: Demonic Embrace got changed, but it's a nerf for Shen since they nerfed the Health for more AP and nerfed the max health ratio on the burn effect. Demonfire might be strong still but the -100 health and -0.2% max health ratio nerf hurt a bit. Sterak's Gage got buffed, might be worth building again in some very rare cases (probably in combination with titanic hydra).
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