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Shen Build Guide by Oyooy

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Oyooy

A guide to Shen; The Least Stealthy Ninja

Oyooy Last updated on February 14, 2015
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 9

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 21


Utility: 0

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This is my guide for Shen. I have been playing Shen for about 2-3 years and reached Gold last season with him but I seem to have a play style quite different to many other people. This is the way I have found Shen to work best and I wanted to share it.

Shen is a champion that went through a period of being one of if not the best top laner. Recently however he has been all but forgotten even though he can still be strong and fills a role in a team which few other champions can do to anywhere near the same level.

Differences in the builds:
The Tanky build is one where Shen will try and be useful in teamfights. It is the easier to use of the two and I would recommend it for new Shens. Even though it isn't the split push build, you should still be split pushing with it but more just to pull enemies away than to try and take towers.
The Split push build is like the tanky build but is more of a pushing threat. It is more difficult to play as it needs good game knowledge and is lacking more in survivability. With this build you are actually able to push down enemy tower as well as teamfight when people go to stop you.

I am looking to improve this guide so if you have any feedback please comment on the guide.

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+Incredibly tanky
+Well sustained
+Excellent split pusher
+Global presence

-Hard CC is expensive
-Long cooldown on Stand United early
-Fairly low damage
-Relatively immobile

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My runes are mostly focused around trading favourably in the early game.

These runes are aimed at giving the stats which will be useful for split pushing.

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These masteries are chosen to give him trading power and harass with his Vorpal Blade and Ki Strike.
In this tree I have used double edged sword to boost your trading power in lane to help you come out ahead. I have also chosen cooldown reduction and ability power to maximise damage coming from your skills for harass.

In this tree I have focused on getting extra resistances and health to stay alive longer and for the health scaling on his abilities.

An alternative tree could be transferring the points from ability power into attack damage ones.

These masteries are chosen to help increase how Shen pushes and increase his trading power.
In this tree I have used the attack damage and speed to help Shen push and fight opponents as well as double edged sword to make him stronger at dueling in lane.

In this tree I have focused on health, armour and magic resist to help him win fights and be more persistent in his pushing.

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Summoner Spells


Teleport is a very useful spell on Shen. It allows him to quickly return to lane after ulting somewhere to reduce the lost CS as much as possible and prevent tower damage. Later on it also gives Shen another way to move around meaning he can keep split pushing even without his ult.


Flash is a very good all around mobility spell which is a must pick on most champion. It's mobility allows you to escape, dodge spells or finish off kills. It provides extra benefits to Shen as it lets him pull off a Flash taunt (explained later).

Alternative Spells


Ignite is a strong spell, especially for newer Shens. It gives him extra lane power and the ability to finish off kills or win fights he wouldn't usually be able to. However, for experienced players it falls off a bit as is doesn't give the huge utility that teleport does for setting up fights or saving towers.


Exhaust can be used as a replacement for teleport as a way of catching people who are getting away or helping sway fights in your favour. It also provides another form of cc to your team. It's main use is against assassins who rely purely on being able to burst someone from 100-0 (E.g. Zed or Rengar) in which case it can be used to keep your carries alive.


Ghost is generally worse than flash but there may be certain situations where ghost would be better. For example, if you have mastered attacking with movement in between, ghost can be used to get more attack onto someone than if you had just flashed.

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Level Up Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
I level the abilities with with the priority order: R, Q, W, E.

Note that if you are getting jungle ganks early you should get taunt at level 2 or 3 instead.

I level Stand United as highest priority because of it's amazing saving power. It has the largest natural shield in the game which can be applied to any teammate instantly. The levels hugely increase the shield to increase the chances the person will remain alive long enough for you to get there, and reduce the cooldown so you can be ready to save people more often.

I level Vorpal Blade as the second highest priority because it is your main source of damage and harass so both the reduced cooldown and the increased damage are incredibly useful.

I level Feint third because of it's ability to put trades significantly in your favour as well as give you the opportunity for saving your life in clutch situations.

I level Shadow Dash last because chances are you wont be using it as soon as it comes off cooldown every time because of the large cost so the reduced cooldown doesn't help much.

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The items in this build are focused on general tanky stats but with a bit more focus on health than most other builds because of the health scaling on his Ki Strike and the sustain on Vorpal Blade.

  • Sunfire Cape: Sunfire cape is a strong way of starting building. This is because most top laners you will face will be AD and all will deal some form of physical damage. The armour is very useful in reducing damage from that. The unique passive also comes in useful as it is extra damage. It comes in especially useful when split pushing since it gives Shen some AoE damage for pushing speed. If against strong AP you can buy Spirit Visage first.
  • Spirit Visage: Spirit Visage is a strong item because it provides loads of extremely useful stats. It gives health, which importance has already been explained; health regen, which always helps; CDR, which is a difficult stat to get a hold of outside of mana regen and ability power items; and finally magic resistance, which the guide has been lacking up to this point. All these stats along with it's passive which boosts the already extremely strong sustain make this item an obvious choice.
  • Randuin's Omen: This item provides a very strong combination of health and armour. The passive is very strong in teamfights for reducing the enemy adc's damage (especially after you taunt them). The active also provide extra AoE cc which Shen doesn't really have.
  • Damage items: These three items (A triforce if you will, huehuehue) provide a good boost in damage. They round off your build making you both unkillable and damaging.
    • Trinity Force:
      This item it generally the one I would recommend in most situations. Even though the mana goes to waste, all the other stats are incredibly useful. The Sheen effect increases his damage by a lot and the Phage effect also makes you a lot more mobile.
    • Frozen Mallet:
      This item gives even more tankyness and CC. I would recommend this item if your team is incredibly short on CC and tankyness.
    • Wit's End:
      This items is a strong boost to Shen's damage while also giving magic resist. Take this item if you are doing quite a lot more split pushing than usual or the opponents have a lot of magic damage.
  • Final items: These items are to make finally make you unkillable.
    • Warmog's Armor:
      This is the item I would usually take in most situations. It gives a lot of health for Ki Strike and Vorpal Blade but also gives a ton of sustain without even needing to do anything.
    • Thornmail:
      This item is good on Shen as you can force people to attack you with your taunt to trigger the effect. I take this item if the enemies have a lot of attack damage, especially people who rely on auto attacks over abilities.
  • Boots: The boots can be purchased at any point in your item build. Generally I would recommend Mercury's Treads since the build doesn't have too much MR but you could get Ninja Tabi if you need extra armour to help in lane or they enemy team has very little magic damage.

Split push
This build is focused on tanky stats but is also trying to get attack speed to increase your pushing power.
  • Sunfire Cape:
    This item is core on Shen, especially split push. It gives the tanky stats he needs to win fights in his lane and the passive gives him a lot of power to push minions by just being there.
  • Choose one:
    These items are attack speed ones aimed to get Shen pushing as fast as possible.
    • Blade of the Ruined King:
      This item is strong for split pushing but also for dealing with tanky people they send to deal with you. The attack damage and attack speed are good for general pushing while the sustain helps you stick around and be more persistent with your pushes. The active is also very good for escaping as you can build up a considerable gap between you and your opponent.
    • Wit's End:
      This item is another solid choice. It gives just as much pushing power as the other two items but is 700 gold cheaper than the blade of the ruined king which is the next cheapest. It is useful when you are losing so are short on gold or you need the extra magic resist.
    • Trinity Force:
      The most expensive of the three, the trinity force gives a lot of useful stats and effects. It gives the least attack speed of the three items but the Sheen effect is very effective for chunking down towers quickly by procing it with your Vorpal Blade. The Phage effect also helps Shen make a faster escape.
  • Spirit Visage:
    This item is not meant to boost Shen's pushing power as much as his ability to sustain and survive when fighting. It is important for if he joins in a teamfight so he doesn't get blown up instantly by mages.
  • Randuin's Omen:
    Another item to help with being tanky. It is very strong for surviving but the active is also useful to help you escape when being chased.
  • Pick another:
    See above. These items are meant to make you a true threat to the enemy's base with further attack speed and damage.
  • Boots:
    These should be inserted at some point early in the build. Generally I would recommend Mercury's Treads but Ninja Tabi are useful against high amounts of AD and Berserker's Greaves are useful to push faster.

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Early Game:
Shen's harass in the early game is one of his strongest points. Try to farm as much as possible with your auto attacks and your Vorpal Blade. Once you have 2-3 points in Vorpal Blade you can begin to harass your opponent. Throw a blade at them every opportunity you get unless you can use it to get a CS you wouldn't have gotten. Once they get low enough you can start to zone them off the minions and if they come forward, punish them for it by taunting and killing them. Once you have your ult you can use it to save team-mates (always try to get objectives or something else helpful with it whenever you can).

Mid Game:
Stay in an isolated lane mostly. Try to push to draw people to deal with you. Get as much farm as possible but pay extremely close attention to the rest of the map. If a fight takes place be sure to use your ult to save someone (preferably a carry) and join in. Also ward the area around your lane to be sure you know if people are been sent to kill you. Your ultimate shouldn't be wasted on saving one person's life in most situations as you lose a lot of global pressure.

Late Game:
At this point you can either push whichever lane has had the least damage done to it or group with your team for objectives. If you are fighting with your team try to get as much focus onto yourself but dealing damage and taunting valuable opponents. Keeping your carries alive is your highest priority to be ready to taunt any assassins that come after them.

Split push:
Early Game:
At this point in the game you shouldn't really be pushing as you are vulnerable to ganks and are squishy. Instead, try to farm up to the point of your first major pushing item and fight your opponent by taunting them and marking them with vorpal blade before attacking them as many times as possible.

Mid game:
Push whichever lane doesn't have opponents in to stop you. Be sure to co-ordinate and lead your team to avoid engages 4v5 but to fight when it becomes 4v4 or 3v4 as people come to deal with you. When they do start fighting ult in to join them and then finish of any objective nearby. Your ultimate shouldn't be wasted on saving one person's life in most situations as you lose a lot of global pressure.

Late Game: Apply as much constant pressure as you can in each of the lanes without putting yourself in danger of dying. Each tower you take makes your danger to the opponents grow as they have fewer defences left so keep pushing apart from when you are needed in teamfights. By this point in the game you may have 4/5 dragon or Baron buff which will help you out hugely pushing.

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1. The Flash-Taunt
The flash taunt it one of the most advanced Shen techniques and should be mastered by anyone who wishes to play Shen well. It involves flashing to extend your taunt range. This can be used to catch someone who would normally be out of range, to taunt multiple people who aren't in a straight line or to taunt someone by surprise.
It is done by:
Taunting, then at the very last second at the end of the dash, flashing directly onto the person or people you wish to also taunt, extending the CC range greatly.

2. Sustaining
Shen's vorpal blade can give quite a bit of sustain. However, you get quite a lot less health from killing a minion with it. For better sustain either mark a full health minion and attack it multiple for the maximum amount of health returned or learn how much damage the blade does at each rank so you can use it to leave a minion with enough health for one auto attack to kill it.

3. Baron and Dragon
Shen's sustain from the vorpal blade shouldn't be underestimated. With major objectives like dragon and baron, Shen can mark it and sustain everyone attacking it. This means he is very good at helping his team sneak 20 min barons.

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07/02/2015: Released
14/02/2015: Colour Fixing

Please leave any feedback so I can continue to improve the guide.