Shyvana Build Guide by Veralion
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Runes: Glass AP backline
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Ability Order Skill order
Threats & Synergies
Amumu is famously easy to counterjungle and should not be able to fight you at any stage of the game. As long as your lanes are even, you should get every crab and maybe even a buff or two. Don't be shy about walking in and taking his camps after you hit 6 and all major and minor objectives have been taken. If he lands his bandage, wait for aftershock to expire before retaliating. Just don't be greedy and let him lock you down while he has friends on the way. If he's building full AP, make sure you engage him while healthy, as his ratios are nothing to sneeze at, and you should win handily.
Clear down. Potentially quite dangerous. She still has her insane engage range, and that combined with her passive shield and very high Q damage can pick you off very easily if you underestimate her. By the time you see her, it will be too late. Be very careful how you approach crabs, and only do so whle healthy. She's taken significant hits to her clear speed and safety, however, and has fallen out of favor. She must therefore try to kill you early, so ward before your second buff. How dangerous she ends up being will typically depend on how reckless your lanes play. She's looking to kill people, not camps. You'll easily outscale her so long as your team doesn't run it down too many times before you can fight. Pay attention to where she likes to go and look to countergank after 6. This is typically mid lane, as her hookshot lets her easily yeet on top of your mid from any angle. If she gets off to a good start, grab a Zhonya's to stall away her cage and hopefully save your life. Mind the Triforce power spike.
This guy's a 10 not for the early game, but for what he turns into later on. He's designed to be a MR tank, and that's exactly what he does. Aside from always building Spirit Visage, he gets free MR on his kit and too many free numbers to ever fight. He is the ultimate stat check. You will not be able to do anything to him lategame, no matter what you build. You need to make sure that your botlane does well, as a fed ADC is required to deal with this meatball. Avoid him entirely unless your lanes have priority and are rotating. His Q gives him too much control and if he lands one, you will need to ult/flash a wall or die at all stages of the game.
Probably the single most overpowered champion in the game if played perfectly, and the one that I am the most sick of. Always assume his ult is up, it has next to no cooldown for how powerful it is. Avoid his shadow like the plague; not only will it full heal him, it will practically one hit you. Leave him alone unless you have a sizeable lead or catch him low; a burst champion like yourself can't cut through two and a half full life bars worth of health. If you go for a kill, stay in motion, darting in and out of range to keep him guessing and not let him land his W or R on you.
Clear down. Elise tends to be very aggressive. She more than likely will look for you at your topside buff. Start topside and clear down to not give her the chance. If she cannot land cocoon, she has no way to close the distance between you. Respect her flash distance on top of cocoon's range. She also is one of the best champions in the game at tower diving and will look to do so whenever a stacked wave pushes in. If you're in a position to help and see a massive wave about to crash into one of your turrets, make sure you're in the area to counter the dive. Losing 2-3 waves of gold and experience will cripple your laner and tilt them to oblivion. Don't let that happen if you can help it. She is easily squished post-6, but only do so while healthy, and don't let her rappel your E. You should outscale her by miles in the midgame.
As most assassins are, this is a very swingy matchup. You are both champions that are designed to be weak early, so you may choose to challenge her for the first few crabs. She's not much of a threat without a few kills under her belt, so you'll outscale her rather easily if she can't find any opportunities. If she gets off to a strong start, you will need to be extremely careful for the rest of the game. A fed Eve will 100-0 you quite easily; that ult is no joke. Make sure to place defensive control wards if she gains a lead on you and respect her damage potential by instantly retreating the second you see love dust over your head. Be ready to ult away if she goes for the engage. If you don't have your ult and don't know where she is, consider yourself in constant danger. She can also use her ult to easily escape from you and restealth, so you'll probably need some lockdown with you to finish her off. Regardless of how well she does, eventually there will come a point where you and your team simply will not be able to be alone anymore while she is on the map for fear of getting picked. At this time, use the buddy system, place control wards liberally, and shadow your most fed carry. She can only kill one target at a time and will be reluctant to engage on two.
The rework made Fiddle significantly weaker 1v1 before 6. He is probably the single weakest pre-6 duelist in the game. Even Shyvana can absolutely destroy him. Apply early pressure and don't be afraid to take camps away. If he tries to drain tank you like the good old days, just kill him. You substantially outdamage his heal so long as he isn't also eating a camp or a wave and you aren't already low on health (it does missing health damage now). Aside from that, his clear speed now surpasses even Graves, so make sure you don't fall behind in levels. While you have absolutely nothing to fear from him early and may play freely, once he hits 6 you will need to keep him in the back of your mind anytime you go for a play. Crowstorm makes Fiddle the strongest counterganking champion in the game, and overchasing a fleeing target or committing to a skirmish with incomplete vision control may get you and several teammates killed. Never towerdive unless you have the surrounding area lit up like Christmas and make sure your bot lane keeps their lane bushes warded in case he tries to set up a trap. After lanes end and big fights start happening, make damn sure you don't clump together and keep your flanks warded. Force plays while his ult is down, as it has a long cooldown and the game is 4v5 without it.
Respect his flash distance at all times, as body slam-flash is instant and will force you to take his entire burst combo or be knocked back into his team. He can do a silly amount of unavoidable damage with electrocute and a lead if you misposition. You should have no issues winning the objective game and outscaling him. He likes to take Aftershock most of the time, so spending an ult to try and pick him is probably not wise.
His strengths are clear speed and clear safety, not ganking, much like you. Just respect him and condede crabs until 6 if necessary as usual. Don't let him proc phase rush or he will probably run you down, he's absolutely nuts with that rune. Stay well away from him while he has red. Both of you occupy the niche of scaling objective-based junglers. He farms camps way faster than you do, but you beat him in objective damage. He's got a few buffs recently that made him a lot harder to deal with, including some significant MR on his passive. That clear speed of his lets him snowball exceptionally hard if he gets lucky with a good early game, and he will become fast enough to clear half of your jungle on top of his with every rotation. Graves players counterjungle to an obnoxious degree. Things become unmanageable at this point without catchup XP. Make sure that when he's thinking about your gromp, you're thinking about his drake. Extreme with a lead for sure, but listed as major because he tends to leave you alone in the early game so you at least get a chance to play. Solid ban choice because of how popular he is and how much pressure he can exert on the map by one hitting every camp.
Strong. Helicoper Q lets him stack Conqueror super fast and his lane pressure is very high. Don't even think about fighting him alone, this champion is just so insane. He should usually leave you alone and focus lanes. Play the objective game; he should be too busy trying to gank to worry about drake and herald. Attempting to countergank is probably inadviseable until 6. Look to take his camps while he's showing in lanes if possible. If he gets a lead be extremely cautious about going near river, since by the time you see him it will be too late if you are alone. Watch for his Trinity Force powerspike, it's nuts.
Frustration incarnate. Just pretend like he isn't there in any 1v1 setting. I promise you, you won't kill him and he won't kill you, so it's a complete waste of resources and time. Don't underestimate how valuable he is in a skirmish, especially with his top laner. Trying to 2v2 top is probably not wise. He can instantly kill crabs and buffs with his smite, giving him frightful counterjungle potential. Don't be late to your buffs. You'll probably lose a few while you're busy taking more imporant objectives, but that's alright. Look for opportunities to vertical jungle and take his in return.
On the weak side early. If you're feeling spicy, you can take Hail of Blades and tear him apart. Wait for him to use E->Q before moving in on him if possible, he will want to knock up the crab to take it faster. Take advantage and move in while he's helpless. The terrain generated by his ult tends to make both teams clump up, which is great for you. Look to land those high value shots.
Counterstrike is a fun ability. Do not duel and avoid. Weigh Void Staff more heavily in your decision making process, as he gets a ton of free resists from his ult. His engage range is very short, so respect flash+Q range and you should be alright. Just ult away if he is going to land his stun, waiting it out will probably be too late. Bruisers are always tough to deal with, so babysit your ADC. If anyone can cut through him, it's them.
Nonthreatening. Karthus will probably stay in his own jungle playing farm simulator. You're fast enough to easily avoid his skittles. He can force your flash if he catches you in his W while yours is down, however, so respect him until it's available if you run into eachother in the early game. Post 6 he is easily gobbled up if you ever find him. If lane priority is favorable, feel free to go hunting. And make sure never to try to kill that one last camp if you're below 200 health. You never know when he may randomly ult.
Kayn has been buffed substantially in the last few patches and is now troublesome to engage in the early game. The slow on his W now gives him plenty of control to kite out your W and E mark. Conq means he's going red, DH or Electrocute means blue. Avoid needlessly trading with conquerer Kayn unless you know you can get the kill since you don't want to give him free orbs and evolve him faster. That could mean all the difference in a big fight. Itemize Zhonya's quickly if he goes blue, Morellonomicon if he goes red. They almost always go Rhaast, so make sure your bot lane does well so your ADC can cut through him in teamfights. If he ults you, try to place him away from a wall and away from your carries. The worst thing you can do is let him dash into your team and get a 3+ man knockup, which will probably full heal him. Wait for his follow up dash after he exits his ultimate to fire if he's a viable target.
Significantly buffed in 10.14 for little reason, almost certainly should be avoided now. Hail may be worth taking, would like to run some more tests before committing to it though. He's not a great ganker and requires his enemies to play greedy to get going. The burn from red smite will help track him while he is cloaked running around in skirmishes. Extremely easy to squish if he doesn't pop off. If he's in defense mode and not looking to fight, hold your E until after he jumps, then fire afer him. He has decent objective taking speed through isolated Q, so don't leave drake unwarded.
If Kindred has red buff, stay the hell away from her at all costs. Just getting tagged with that slow will force your flash or kill you. You will never be able to even touch her in a straight up fight. She (they?) also love/s being aggressive, so ward defensively during your first two clears and watch for early invades. Prioritize her marks in your pathing over anything that's not drake. During the teamfight phase, her ult will create clusters of enemy champions trying to take advantage of it. Learn the timing and have a fireball at that clump right when it expires.
Clear down. In my opinion, Lee is now overtuned by a tad. The dude hurts if he gets going. He's also the most popular jungler by a mile, so you'll need to get good at playing into him if you don't want to just permaban it like me. Fighting him early is inadviseable unless you catch him unawares at a health disadvantage. He's way stronger than you and you can't escape unless he misses his Q. On even footing or with a lead you can all in him after 6, but the problem is he's so damn good at ganking that he will typically have a few kills by that point. He can also just kick you away and easily escape, so it's aggravating. If he's popping off, avoid him like the plague. His ward hop into R->Q combo will 100-0 you with zero counterplay possible. It's unwise to straight up challenge him for a 50/50 smite through the execute damage on his Q. Thankfully, most people can't pilot him to anything approaching his full effectiveness and make mistakes trying to be flashy. Punish when possible.
Avoid him as usual in the early game. He wins quite handily until 6 because meditate is a balanced ability that can just stall until your E mark expires. And that's if he's not healthy enough to just right click you to death. If he's running ignite, that means he really wants to kill you at your second buff. Ward before starting it. Don't engage him if he has his ult available post-6. If you know it's down, save your ult to interrupt meditate and he's a free kill. If he has a Taric, or a Yuumi, or a Lulu, ESPECIALLY if he has 2 of them, dodge the game. It's not worth playing into a 25 minute instant win condition. It doesn't matter how bad the Yi is, he will pentakill you at some point with those champions behind him. Funnel Yi, much like cancer, refuses to die, and the Yi is typically piloted by a very skilled high elo booster. Tarzaned says the only way to beat funnel Yi is with a very early game jungler with hard CC, which is the complete opposite of Shyvana. Just dodge it.
Clear down. Below Diamond you probably don't have much to worry about. Platinum and below Nidalees are basically memes. However, a skilled and confident Nidalee will be in your face from level 3, hunting you down and stealing your camps. This is an extremely obnoxious champion to jungle against. Getting hit by a spear is certain death. Flash the damn thing if need be. Concede crabs, buffs, gromp, whatever you need to unless you have lane priority and attempt to path around her. If you can make it to level 6 without being put in a pit, you can easily gib her with your all in. She must retreat if she is taken by surprise and cannot set up on her target from long range.
Do not ever attempt to fight this champion without your ult to either break his fear tether or partially immune it. He does an insane amount of damage and you will probably die before it expires. Don't contest a thing. Post-6, float around the most action-packed lane or the lane with the most kill pressure in conjunction with Nocturne's ult and look to countergank him. Tell your team to communicate with pings where he is headed. He can take away your vision, but not your ping buttons. You can see his Q on the ground through his ult, so look for that to figure out where he is and aim your ult accordingly. Wait for someone else to pop his spell shield before using E if possible. Build Zhonya or he can easily just R you and murderize you in fights.
Nunu & Willump
Nunu gets points for how quickly he can eat dragons and any buffs that you leave unattended for too long. Your objective rotations have to be on point; don't be late. Aside from that, his early presence dwarfs yours, but he should be going after lanes, not you. Just ignore him and outscale. Target him last in skirmishes. If he gets a good angle on you with his snowball, it may be wise to turn on your W and deftly juke to his side. He has the turning radius of an 18-wheeler and can only reliably inititate in a straight line. Flash or ult away from his ult; I don't need to tell you how hard a fully channeled Nunu ult hits.
Clear down. Olaf is one of the undisputed kings of the jungle right now. Do not ever attempt to fight him unless you have overwhelming odds on your side. His Q effortlessly keeps you under control and lets him dictate the fight. Even if you have a sizeable health advantage, he can simply kite you until your E mark and W expire and then slap you silly. I've seen this champion 1v2 so many times it's unreal. Play around him and take objectives while he's busy elsewhere. Do not countergank unless it looks really good. Babysit your bot lane and play for late. He can't get much done in the later stages of the game.
You almost always see him run mid over jungle to hit level 6 faster, so this is rare and I'm sort of guessing here. His tools are better than yours, so don't look to fight early. Respect the execute damage on his kit and only interact with him while healthy. If he uses his W on the crab you might be able to push him off of it and take it before it comes back up. Post 6 you should wait for him to use his E before firing, as it is complete damage immunity 180 degrees in front of him. He is a spectacular tower diver, much like Elise. Watch for big crashing waves, especially on bot lane, be there when they do, and countergank. You'll probably pick up several kills.
He can catch you very easily, but won't be able to finish you off without help. Respect lane priority even more than you normally would. Ult away to immune taunt if necessary. Easy to chase off of crabs alone, but extremely dangerous to challenge if enemies are rotating. Just make sure to wait for aftershock and his W to expire before comboing him and he should fall over. He has no choice but to let you scale, so do so and get those objectives. Ignore him and kill his teammates in skirmishes, you lose way too much value dumping your E into his W. Wait for that ability to expire before shooting him. Use your W to stay in front of him so that he can't Q to safety if he's caught in a bad situation.
Clear down. Stay the hell away from her, especially if she's got Hail of Blades. Expect early aggression and ward defensively. Never be within tunnel-flash-unburrow range, which is quite far. You will die. Instantly. You will need to concede a lot against a good player. Remember how her passive works; she can see where you are while burrowed every time you move. If you find yourself setting a trap on a crab or buff with a teammate, remain perfectly still. If you're sneaking drake or rift herald, remain perfectly still so that she can't incidentally see you while in the area.
Clear down. He will almost certainly look to level 3 invade, so be careful. Rengar loves to target the enemy jungler as there are tons of bushes to make setting up kills extremely easy. If you get matched up against a skilled one, you will have to treat every bush in your jungle with a healthy amount of paranoia. If he gets a lead and plays properly you won't be able to play the game. Coordinate with your laners to keep the entrances to your jungle warded, as you won't be able to stand up to him at all. If being chased down, path away from bushes, and if necessary flash a section of wall that won't give him an easy bush jump on the other side if he follows you. If he gets out of control and you are likely to be his primary target, you will need to buy a Zhonya's. You will need to be very fast to activate it while he is in midair jumping towards you as you are dead the second he lands. This isn't easy. Shadow your carries later on in the game and make sure nobody is ever alone. Try to use your ult right when he lands to interrupt his one-shot combo and give your carry the little bit of distance they need to escape.
Nerfed out of favor by pro play overuse, and I haven't seen her in ages. She does a surprising amount of damage for such a tanky champion, but her engage range is too small to make her a threat in any real way. I'm pretty sure you can chase her off of early crabs fairly easily, she takes a while to get going. Should be very easy to outscale and out-objective.
AP Shyvana does very funny things to Shaco. Why bother taking the split second to identify which one is real when you can just kill both at once with one ability? Wait for him to press R in a fight and have an E there when he and his buddy pop back into existence. Be sure to Smite the triple boxes that the clone drops before they activate; don't want your team getting hit by that fear. He might be able to force you off of a buff at some point, but he lacks the follow up to finish you off unless you're already pretty low. Ward defensively if finishing a clear below half life. He's good at taking objectives very quickly with his ult, so make sure your objective rotations are on point. Don't be baited into ulting at a clone; if you see a Shaco running around facechecking bushes or running at your teammates without using any abilities, that's the clone.
It's rare to find a champion less popular than Shyvana, but this is one of them. You can't immune his ultimate, unfortunately. He will reel you back in like a fish, so make sure you respectfully ult away before he reaches you. If you're fed and the primary target, stay the hell back and force him to pick a different target to ult in fights. You really don't want to be forced to pay the Skarner tax for QSS if you can help it. That's 60 AP of value you're missing out on when you could have just positioned better.
I don't get why people still play this, honestly. The only threatening thing on the entire champion is her W. Avoid that ability at all costs, you'll take a tremendous amount of damage. If you juke or flash it, she's absolutely helpless and very easily run down with a red buff. Your W makes you too fast for her to connect with more than 1 or 2 rocks of her Q. Post 6 just throw yourself at her and collect your money.
Do not engage. Very few champions are as good at whacking a singular target as Trundle. If your team can't collapse, just let him take what he wants for pretty much the entire game. Don't get within Pillar range and respect his W, he can move pretty quickly and chase you down if your W isn't available.
Before the game even starts, ping the crap out of him and tell your lanes to play extremely defensively. Twitch jungle is a straight up cheese pick that relies on his opponents to be very, very stupid in order to be useful. His clear speed is atrocious and he struggles to clear several camps. If he can't get enough kills off of disrespectful opponents to get a quick bloodrazor, he is dead in the water for the entire game. If your team wins the level 1, call to invade his red, take it, and head straight to your own. This will absolutely cripple him. If he's around, you will have to concede the first crab or two because Shyvana against a ranged champion with red buff is an unwinnable battle. Flash right away if he opens up on you with red as you risk dying otherwise; a max stack E does a ton of damage. This should be the only time you will need to give him any sort of respect. After you get 6, just yeet at him immediately whenever you see him and roast yourself up a plague rat.
Clear down. Avoid, avoid avoid. Udyr is bonkers overtuned in a 1v1 setting. Don't even attempt to countergank him for some time, as he's strong enough to auto-win most 2v2 or 3v3 engagements if he can't be locked down or kited. Tiger stance does a frankly stupid amount of damage. NEVER be within flash range of him, as being hit by bear stance is almost a death sentence. His lack of a gap closer makes him eaiser to respond to than most other early duelists, though.
One of the few champions you can actually duel. If you manage to juke her Q or wait for her to use it before engaging, she's dead meat and easily run down with a red buff. If you meet her around crab, wait for her to Q the crab to lower its resistances, then go. It's got a very long cooldown until it's maxed. If you get caught out and she ults at you, ulting right as she reaches you will immune her dunk and stop her from following. Don't be late for drakes, as she is almost as good at killing them as you are.
Voli has been figured out and is now worth respecting. Very dangerous in extended duels, so avoid interacting with him alone. Your W outruns him, so he's fairly easy to avoid. He's supposed to function like Elise except way more infrequently and with way less burst. Watch for incoming dives post-6 and position to counter. His annoying cant-ever-fight-me passive is gone, so feel free to engage if you catch him on low health. Make sure he'll die to your initial combo though, or his E and sustained damage may turn the fight.
Extremely strong early game duelist, likely to contest your second buff if your lanes don't have priority. Concede it if necessary and path around him. He likes to spawn kill drake just like you do. Ward the pit at 5 minutes. If he starts it, let your drake friend slap him around, and finish him off when the drake's at half health. His engage range is actually insane post-6, so be very aware of lane rotations and don't get caught out. In a skirmish situation, look to use your ult to knockback him if he lands it on a high value target. I don't think it ends the effect, but it will buy your carry a little bit of distance and prevent his follow-up Q.
Very, very dangerous. If he manages to knock you up there's a good chance you're dead before you land. A semi-fed Hail of Blades Xin can engage you at 10% life while you're at full and still win if you have no ult. Give him a wide berth and think very carefully before committing to an early game skirmish. Just ulting at him is probably not worth it since he can immediately disengage you. If he has a bad start and looks killable, hold your E and chase after him with your W until his R expires.
Zac is there to enable his team, not to do anything himself. He doesn't do much damage but brings a crapton of control and disruption to the table. Without any hard CC you can't stop him from jumping away, so chasing after him is a waste of time. If you meet over a crab, just focus on securing it and go about your business. He can very easily countergank mid, so be careful when making a play in that lane. Save your smite to bop a bloblet once you and your team bring him down. Bonus points for being cheeky and saving it for the last one to "secure" it. You're a dragon, you deserve it! Failing that, if your E is coming up, hold it until the blobs group up and hit them all at once. With careful timing, a Zac may use his E to jump clear over objective pits and smite steal as he passes by. Don't let that happen to you.
Quite a weak jungler, not one you should see frequently. Avoid as usual in the early game, be mindful of his stealth+dash range and be very careful around the river while he has red buff. His Q shreds armor and he can easily kill you in an extended fight if you're caught without an escape plan. Be extremely mindful of him when it comes time to teamfight, as letting him get onto you will incapacitate you for 1.2 seconds and make you a very easy kill. Grab a Zhonya's if you think you will be his priority target and for god's sake, don't stand on top of your ADC and let him put both of you in the blender at once with stealth flash E R, which covers a LOT of distance.
Deer lady go zoom. Don't even try to catch this champion by running up to it. You will get kited and killed effortlessly. She moves at boots of mobility speeds with her Q stacked and you have no tools to keep her still to do damage. Concede early crabs if you don't have priority and can't catch her in a facecheck. Be mindful for her soccer ball whenever you are in a lane, since she can potentially hit you and put you to sleep from her base to turn your gank around. Once you get your ult, remember that you have one chance to kill her with your R-E before you finish picking up your CDR. Don't chase her if she survives; think of it as a 4-legged Singed. She will always go Deadman's, never auto attack, and permanently keep that extra 60 MS on top of her crazy passive stacks. I can't stress enough how uncatchable this obnoxious champion is for Shyvana. In a fight, you need someone on your team to keep her still for you or you will probably just miss your abilities with how fast she prances around like a jackass. That model also goes all over the place when her Q is maxed too, making it tougher to judge where her hitbox is. Either focus on her team, or wait for CC to land to shoot her dead like Bambi's mother.
Absolute BS solo queue nightmare terror. Walls mean nothing to him, so he can easily roam for free kills while you cover mid. He can also be anywhere he wants in the blink of an eye, and can keep you safe from invades just by being in the game. One of my favorites, and I would say that he's the absolute best mid laner you can have.
Draconic dream team. He roams and does your job, you cover mid and do his job. You get to funnel Shyvana mid lane farm while losing no early pressure at all.
If I have to play Shyvana/Kassadin one more time I'm going to tear my hair out. No early game. Zero. None. Prepare your butt for constant invades and absolutely no help. Very bad comp. Pick something else!
Another heavy roaming midlaner. Take her waves while she terrorizes bot lane! Lacks reliable gank setup, though.
Chunking multiple targets down to Kat oneshot range is everything she wants out of life. She can't really enable you, but you sure as hell enable her. I think Kat mid is still one of Shyvana's highest winrate pairings. Broken champ. Go mid and feed it lots, especially once she gets her gunblade.
Very easy to gank for, also likes to shove and roam. It's nearly impossible to avoid charm when this furry has 3 dashes to position for it. Free kill on cooldown!
Very weak early game, so less than ideal. However, offers almost unparalleled zone control and setup for your E in the mid to late game. Niche champion played mostly by onetricks, so you can be confident in them. Most of the time. Give her blues!
Fairly strong early, flash tibbers is a good setup, but very conditional and infrequent. I don't think she has many good matchups nowadays, so may lack priority.
Lane bully who is tough for many mages to play into. Needs to scale, but can mess up several matchups. Lacks setup for you, but you should have priority for the early game.
One of the most solid champions in the game. Her ult's stun is conditional but potentially a devastating setup for you. You should always have priority and win early game fights, this champ is kind of nuts. Give her blues!
Popular opinion is she's too strong. Extremely tough for many champions to lane against and you can expect priority. If by some miracle the enemy team survives her 3 or 4 man R, your E will finish the job.
Champ is still tuned to be too strong, but struggles into several matchups early I think. Priority not guaranteed. W stun setup is very good, but tough to execute and unreliable. Still a broken champ that will probably carry on his own since he is never allowed to be punished for his mistakes.
Eats immobile mages for lunch. If he has a good matchup, you have eternal priority. If he doesn't, good luck.
Gank her on her ult's cooldown. It's coming up, you're ready to rumble. Press button get kill champions are the best setup you can ask for and NOTHING will survive your combined burst. She's been buffed enough that she's no pussycat early, either.
Heavy roamer, but has trouble getting the ball rolling. May require more help than you are able to give. Chain is an alright setup, but delayed and allows reaction. If she has a good matchup, things will go well for you. Catch her waves while she roams.
hur dur me malz me press r me gud. Gank him on cooldown. Literally free kills. He also mongo-shoves the wave with his E so priority is a given most of the time.
Slow skillshot is her only setup. Not great. Loses to many matchups. You'll have frightful poke power in the mid to lategame, though.
Must land binding for setup, but permanently shoves the wave, guaranteeing priority. There's worse champions to play with for sure. Potential multi-man stun in fights, but unlikely.
Solid pick with few truly bad matchups. You are a powerful shockwave delivery system, but this requires putting you in harm's way. Works great on a gank, though.
Pyke mid, much like cancer, refuses to die. He will be permanently roaming for kills after 6, so just park mid and collect waves until monster hunter procs. His gank assist is straight up unfair and should be free kills.
Unfair roaming champion. Buys mobis and runs around pressing R and 100-0ing everybody. Very easy to execute multi-man stun on terrain.
Takes too long to scale up for my liking. Immobile and chugs mana early. Vulnerable to many matchups. Unfairly strong lategame, though.
Perma shove, perma priority, incontestable champion early. Can't stun, but can instantly slow from a mile away with his R.
Yeets himself at things and stuns them for just long enough to land E. Depending on who his matchup is, he can easily be one of the best champions to gank for.
A decent Syndra should be able to land her stun on demand. Paired with your E and her R, nothing should survive. She will run away with a lead thanks to her healthy burst pattern. Multi target stuns in teamfights are always amazing to have.
Telegraphed stun, very weak early. Don't expect priority. One of the best roamers in the game. Catch his waves while he ults bot.
Too weak and slow to rotate early. His E is one of the best setup tools in the game, but allows for reaction time. Glacial Veigar is some BS that will set people up like dominos later on, but I'd still rather have something else mid.
Slow E is his only setup. Clears fast, but typically plays very safe and can't pressure, just pokes.
Shove-y champion. Lacks setup, shouldn't lack priority.
Weak like Kassadin early. Unlike Kassadin though, he can actually do things before level 16. A good Vlad will 1v9 your game. Float mid and help him out. Look to dive mid with him if he starts winning.
Pokes and shoves. A lot. Setup is a slow skillshot, but he may poke people down enough for you to just E them for the kill under turret. Ult may finish off champions that you chunk down.
Enjoys many common midlane matchups. Very weak until level 3, so be careful for a level 3 invade. Just adding an E's worth of damage to his ult will kill just about anyone, though.
Her E is fast and travels a long way. Great catch potential. If she can't setup to trigger her E proc, you sure as hell can.
Champion Build Guide
Why hello there (again)
I go by Veralion and I’ve played Shyvana obsessively since she was released back in Season 2. I've put many thousands of games on her over the years and currently have over 4 million mastery points between my two main accounts (Veralion and RAWRARAWRAWRRAWR). I jungled her playing standard to Diamond V in seasons 7 and 8, so after Riot buffed the AP ratios on her Flame Breath and Dragon's Descent, I fancied a change, started building her AP, and got hooked. These buffs opened up an entirely new playstyle that gave her a whole new level of agency in the current metagame.
I peaked Diamond I in season 9 playing both jungle and mid (which, yes, worked quite well at the time). Since my mid strats took a big hit I've been jungling a lot more, and thought it made sense to have a separate guide for each role so things don't get over-saturated and confusing. I'm usually ranked in Diamond II-III.
Season 11 will be very different, but not much is changing with regards to the jungle itself. The only things of note are the changes to Gromp and Krugs. Krugs are back to being the most valuable camp by a mile, appropriate since it is the most out of the way and takes the longest to kill, and Gromp now gives 20 fury, great for getting your ult back quickly after a gank. The heal from scuttle crab has also been moved onto Gromp so that it is less decisive to take. Camp timers and overall income are intact, favoring carry junglers as before. CDR has also been replaced with a new stat called Haste. Full builds will still have ~40-45% CDR, but it will take longer to achieve.
The real meat of the changes, of course, are the new items. Nashor's Tooth is still our core rush item, but it's lost its CDR in exchange for a stronger proc. Now however, it builds out of Recurve Bow, a VERY strong early item on Shyvana that shores up one of her key weaknesses. This is quite a good trade. Shyvana's flexibility has also gone through the roof, making good use out of 3 of the new AP Mythics. One of these, Riftmaker enables an entirely new playstyle, AP bruiser, which I consider to be the perfect marriage of AD and AP and have been enjoying greatly. Backline squishy nuke dragon still has a place and can still work, but since it takes an entire extra item to get back to the CDR we used to have it took a big hit. Riftmaker builds mitigate this problem by being less dependent on that big Flame Breath and I strongly believe it to be the way forward. I'll be taking a deep dive into both paradigms!
Taken together, this places Shyvana as a solid A tier jungler for her peerless objective control and lategame scaling threat, though she still struggles more in high ELO where games are faster and opponents more aggressive. She is one of the most flexible, easy to execute, and least contested champions in the entire game, making her a fantastic choice to one-trick. Pick her up if you love prioritizing objectives over ganks, playing late-game 1v9 terrors, and dragons. Especially dragons. <3
Finally, though AD/bruiser/on-hit Shyvana, or whatever you want to call it remains very viable, my expertise is in AP and this guide will be entirely in that perspective. People are having great success with AD and tank builds, but it's just not my cup of tea. I'll be presenting a few such builds at the end of this guide though so you aren't caught completely off guard by your team locking in 5 AP.
So if you too wish to become Fire and Death, incinerating entire teams in the blink of an eye, read on and learn well!
And with that, let's get into it!
+ Fantastic objective control, Flame Breath's mark plus Twin Bite & Smite on Drake is almost impossible to outhit early
+ EXTREMELY flexible, can build around 3 different Mythic items on AP alone
+ Manaless, can stay on the map indefinitely and gain incredible value per outing
+ Capable of very early 100-0 burst potential
+ Extremely strong, safe siege with empowered Flame Breath
+ Very high structure damage through AP scaling and Twin Bite
+ Significant splitpush and backdoor threat
+ Easy objective steals with either Dragon's Descent or Flame Breath + Smite
+ Great waveclear while transformed to safely stop enemy pushes
+ Mulches super creeps; one inhib down just means more money for you
+ Snowballs LUDICROUSLY hard and is downright unfair if significantly ahead
+ Low pick and ban rate means extremely high availability in draft, great choice to main or one-trick
+ Is a motherf***ing dragon. Rawr XD.
- Pathetic levels 1-2, weak until first recall, difficult or impossible to contest early invades and first scuttle
- Can made useless for the entire game if put behind early, removal of catchup XP prohibits comebacks in the jungle role without help
- Pure damage champion, brings absolutely no utility
- Very poor ganks before level 6, gives weak mental teammates an easy scapegoat and excuse to give up
- Reliant on Dragon's Descent availability to meaningfully contribute to fights
- Requires team to know how to play with you (Not killing things when you need fury, not fighting when you cannot Dragon's Descent; get used to spam pinging)
- Extremely weak to MR stacking, tanks, and bruisers
- Countered by Banshee's Veil, Spellshields, and other anti-projectile abilities
1. Your composition: strong front line, reliable initiation, AoE CC, reset mechanics
You really love anything on your team that can reliably initiate and lockdown priority targets to give you a strong setup for your Flame Breath. You’re looking for stuff on your team like Malphite, Sion, Diana, Rakan, that sort of thing. The more CC the better; if the initial hit doesn't outright kill their carries, being forced to stay put in the flame patch for a few seconds will. Since you lack CC to lock down targets for ganks, this is also crucial to help you get anything done in the early game. Later on, you'll be doing so much damage to so many enemies at once that you can set up a teammate with a reset like Tristana, Kha'Zix, Pyke, and Darius to go to town and clean house before they know what hit them.
Even as an AP bruiser, Shyvana is not tanky enough to be a primary initiator and very much wants to go in alongside someone who can take more hits than she can. If the entire rest of your team is extremely squishy and you are comfortable doing it, building Frostfire Gauntlet and Blade of the Ruined King into full tank may suit you well. I can never get the damn build to work for me and think that such a tanky build on a champion with no utility and such high ratios is suboptimal, but the numbers back up its strength.
2. Enemy composition: As squishy as possible
You want to be shooting soft, squishy, immobile champions who can’t stand up to your firepower. You bring heavy burst to the team and have very little in the way of sustained damage for beefy targets. A bruiser or tank will shrug off your one big chunk/combo and proceed to make life very difficult for you if your team can't cover that weakness. Riftmaker builds fare better, especially with Conqueror, but Blade of the Ruined King into full tank builds may be more suitable.
3. A good matchup
Since Shyvana is weak until level 6, you are going to want to pick her into a champion that does not like to invade early and apply pressure. Tank junglers like Sejuani, Zac, and Amumu are great, as are power farming champions like Karthus. You may play whatever you like into these.
Avoid playing Dark Harvest backline into highly mobile and stupid powerful early game duelists who love to level 3 invade like Nidalee, Lee Sin, and Rengar. Riftmaker builds with Press the Attack, Bone Plating, and Ignite on the other hand can DESTROY even famed duelists like Olaf and Udyr from 100-0 while starting the fight at less than half health. Picking the right build for the lobby is essential. With the jungle as it is now, when in doubt, go for strong early. Falling behind, even a little bit, is a death sentence for this champion in the current state of the game.
I've got pages of notes on how to handle every common matchup under the threats section above. Anything ranked even and below you can learn to play against and do quite well into. Anything higher... Godspeed.
4. Mid lane priority
A follow on to the above, but a little bit more important. Since you're defenseless early, you really want a strong early mid with priority to let you win crab battles by default and defend you from any cheeky invades. A suitably attentive winning midlaner can turn one of those bad matchups into a payday if they try to mess with you. Killing the enemy and snowballing isn't necessary, only that they maintain control and zone out the opposition so that you get to play the game. Most ranged into melee matchups accomplish this, so look for those. Though champions like Kassadin and Vladimir are lategame terrors, their pathetic early game would leave you wide open, so gank-focused duelists who can stand up for themselves and help them scale would be much better picks.
Mid priority also allows you to invade the enemy fearlessly with an aggressive setup. Shyvana can steal away an entire side of the jungle with a single opening, and a healthy mid diff is essential to putting the enemy jungler on the Maduro diet.
Bonus points for a heavy roaming midlaner like Talon or Aurelion Sol. These champions are much more effective at ganking than you are, so it makes sense to have them fill the role. All you need to do is swing by mid and catch waves. Getting funneled mid lane farm on a champion that scales as hard as Shyvana does is fantastic.
5. A strong, winning bottom lane
Lastly, you want a winning bot lane to make taking drake as safe as possible. Early power is the name of the game; look for champions like Draven, Jhin, and Tristana. Swain is also actually insane right now. Beware picks like Vayne and Ezreal who take a while to scale up and have agency. Not only does a lack of priority make drake more dangerous, such champions also need help to get going, help that you cannot provide for some time.
If your bot starts to pop off on its own, empowered Flame Breath will one hit a low health target stuck farming under their turret from well outside of its range. As long as you take the time to aim well, they cannot escape without using Flash. Carries and supports like to huddle together even more than usual while on low health, so there is a very real chance of killing them both with one shot if you arrive at the right moment. This is the absolute fastest and most efficient way to take over the whole game. You only need about 3 or 4 kills to become completely unstoppable.
Again, you only need 3 of the above in order to make the build work. If you've got all of them, then AP Shyvana becomes one of the strongest picks in the entire game. If left alone and allowed free reign of the map, you'll have first turret through first Rift, first inhibitor through second Rift into Baron, and a 22 minute Dragon Soul on top of truly frightful teamfight potential. It's seriously disgusting how hard she can snowball a game under the right circumstances. There's no counterplay. She just hits Flame Breath and one hits half a team from half a screen away. Imagine Zoe, but without needing setup and in a much wider AoE.
Shyvana Drakeshredder. 20% increased damage combined with your Flame Breath mark lets you rush and kill the first two drakes before the enemy team even realizes they've spawned. Unless they have vision on the drake as you pull it (which you will be checking for), it is already yours. Even if they catch you while it is at half life, it is likely already dead and there is nothing they can do about it. Double proccing your mark with Twin Bite can outsmite just about anybody and makes committing your life for the drake stack very reliable. 5 Armor and MR per drake is nice, but negligible. It means a lot more in terms of mitigation for glass cannon builds like this one than it does for a more traditional on-hit bruiser style. I seriously wish Riot would revert her passive to double while in dragon form like it used to; then I might actually care about stacking it.
Auto reset which hits twice and synergizes with the on-hit damage from her Flame Breath mark, Burnout, and Nashor's Tooth. While in dragon form it cleaves every target in a full semicircle in front of you and generates fury for each target hit, which can add up to quite a bit. Proper positioning to cleave groups of creeps (and especially Raptor camps) will extend dragon form far beyond its base duration and allow you to fire several additional Flame Breaths.
Unlike most auto resets, it gets no bonus range and has an animation that is tied to your attack speed. Landing an auto-Q on a fleeing target is thus very hard unless you are moving significantly faster than they are. Make sure Burnout is still up when you get into melee range!
Keep in mind that both hits of Twin Bite must connect in order to get the full 4 fury. If your target dies on the first hit, you only get 2. That sounds trivial and not worth paying attention to until the first time you die at 99 fury, which I can promise is ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING. Spare no effort to get Dragon's Descent back up as fast as possible.
Twin Bite's cooldown is also reduced on structure hits, making it an obscenely strong pushing tool with a high AP build. If you get a chance to hit a structure in the lategame, it is not long for the world. Dragon form Twin Bite has also FINALLY been fixed in 10.14 after nearly a year to deal appropriate amounts of damage to structures on its second hit. Bite away, but remember that in some situations you may wish to cleave the wave instead for the fury for one last Flame Breath. It also finally does 2 points of damage to wards, but still does not to Illaoi tentacles despite Riot specifically saying they fixed that too. Indie company!
AoE damage and speed buff. Phenomenal for clear speed, as it continually applies the burn damage from the jungle item to everything around you and saves you many auto attacks to finish off little krugs and baby chickens.
Though its movement speed decays over time (for reasons that are no longer valid in the current state of the game), this ability hastens your movement around the map and helps you get in range to apply red buff to gank targets in the early game. Activation timing is key; you want to take full advantage of its gapclosing potential while not letting it expire before you get to your target and extend it. In the mid to late game once you have a few points in, it will help you position in fights, chase people down, and make your Flame Breath absolutely inescapable for most champions in the game.
It does literally nothing special in dragon form. It just gets a little bigger to match your larger size.
God forbid it do something useful and exciting like the rest of her kit, like grant slow immunity, or at the very least not decay over the duration.
I miss my fire trail. If you aren't going to give her some love, give me back my fire trail at least, Rito.
Basic medium speed skillshot which passes through creeps and stops on the first champion hit. Though initially on a long cooldown, the ginormous amount of damage its mark does to big monsters makes it the most important part of your clear.
Flame Breath while transformed with an AP build is one of the most reliable, safe, and potentially damaging basic abilities in the entire game. It surpasses most ultimates, in fact. Not only is it an AoE nuke (and believe me, that IS the right word for it) with a 1.0 ratio and massive range, which is nuts enough, the fire patch it leaves behind is also extremely threatening. It can tick 4 times before it expires, often hits priority targets for 200-250 damage per tick in the endgame, and will always tick once before your target leaves the zone on a direct hit. You'll hit carries who neglect to build MR for well over 1200 damage with a full build on the nuke, plus at least one tick of patch damage, plus a Dark Harvest proc. That's a one hit kill. I've seen initial hits as high as 1600-1800 with infernal soul behind a max AP build. Using this ability well will carry games harder than you thought was even possible.
Some key things to remember about dragon form Flame Breath. First, it’s very tricky to hit targets that are on top of you and inside your model (OwO). Since the ability has a short cast time and cannot be aimed directly below you, a moving target is very difficult to hit at point blank range. I say again: you cannot E directly below Shyvana. And since you must place Flame Breath below your snout, a quickly moving target can rotate around you and avoid the hit. Not only that, but if your mouse is too close to Shyvana, your Flame Breath will fire sideways or even backwards, missing even with its huge hitbox and completely screwing you.
If you are getting hit by two melee champions from opposite sides, you will only be able to hit one of them. If you’re being hugged, Burnout away for a half second and gain enough distance to be sure of your shot. Think of it as a dead zone extending about 50 range from the dead center of your model and never try to hit a target that’s inside it unless you are in a do-or-die moment. Once you have Nashor's Tooth and can do an appreciable amount of damage outside of your Flame Breath, I’d suggest simply autoing them down for a second until they expend their mobility and you force them to move in an easy to predict direction out of your dead zone.
Second, do NOT press E at all while you are flying in Dragon's Descent. The ability can buffer based on the first location you cast at and may cast there upon landing even if you attempt to retarget it. Right clicking after pressing E seems to cancel this, but the behavior seems to be inconsistent. A lot can happen between when you press R, when you land, and when your Flame Breath cast finishes. Just don't do it and press E only after you regain control of Shyvana.
Besides that, if you land Dragon's Descent on someone and they see their health get chunked down, they will typically immediately Flash away anticipating your follow-up Flame Breath. If you cast it right away at their feet upon landing, you’ll miss and feel like an idiot. If you don’t know if their Flash is up or down, wait a second for them to respond, then fire after them. Aim your Flame Breath at max range directly behind a fleeing target so that if they do Flash late, you’ve got a good shot of hitting them anyway. That goes double for champions like Ahri and Ezreal who have built-in dashes and blinks. If your target is not fleeing or if you know their Flash and any movement abilities are down, aim at their feet to not risk the shot going wide. Trust me, it feels really bad to have your shot go right over someone's shoulder because you tried to lead them when it wasn't necessary. Patience is key ; with the unfair range and area that Flame Breath covers, landing it is entirely in your hands. Do not fire unless you’re sure of your shot. Allow your target to react, use their Wind Wall, untargetability, Flash, whatever, then nail them once they’re a sitting duck. Aim small, miss small.
In patch 10.18 the flame patch and indicator on Flame Breath have been enlarged to match the explosion radius on the ability. It's also a center hitbox check instead of an edge check, so it's less frustrating to play into. The explosion radius at rank 5 was slightly nerfed, but we get a bigger fire patch that ticks faster out of the deal which seems to have helped her winrate a good bit. It's now more reliable to get a follow up Dark Harvest proc off of a big chunk.
There is a bug which will make your shots pass through a target if fired from a very specific range. It happens at something close to half of your max attack range and is thankfully extremely precise and tough to replicate. It seems to have something to do with that minimum cast distance I was talking about. You’ll probably never see it happen in a real game, but just know that it’s a thing. Rito pls.
There is another much more pleasing bug with Flame Breath that will reset the cooldown if you cast it at the very instant Dragon's Descent expires. It's not reliable or very reproducible, though; it used to be, but Riot "fixed" it a while back. They didn't do a very good job (imagine that) and just made it much harder. Details below. Definitely don't intentionally go for it and risk not getting your empowered Flame Breath at all, but if you do incidentally cast it at the very last second, check the cooldown real quick. You might have gotten lucky.
Objectively the coolest ult in the game. Unstoppable dash with a 1.0 ratio limited only by fury generation, having an extremely low effective cooldown with just a little bit of attack speed. Though it hits like a truck, it is fairly slow and allows your target to juke you easily or simply run back if cast from max range. Close distance with Burnout before hitting R if you need it to hit to pressure a kill. You only get a baseline 20 seconds in form before dropping out and you need to make the most of it, which makes CDR vital. You are half a champion without it, so it's a damn good thing it's so accessible. Managing fury to make sure you always have it when you need it is crucial, as is properly extending it through frequent auto attacks and Twin Bite cleaves for as long as possible to get as many Flame Breaths off as you can.
Cloud drakes are broken AGAIN. It took months for them to fix this drake the first time they changed it. Now that it's coded as 12 ability haste, Shyvana gains no benefit. Any bets on how long it takes this time? Hate this company, man. Neglect every time.
Never use Dragon's Descent if it's not necessary. Don't use it if a simple human form combo is enough for the job. Just because it has a very low "cooldown" doesn't mean you can't wind up needing it before then.
Dragon's Descent also has a minimum range and cannot be cast in place. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with this distance in practice tool. If you are not cognizant of this fact, you can very easily go to land a Flame Breath on stack of targets only to put yourself in range of CC and die before you get the chance. You are much larger while transformed, and your hitbox reflects this, making you very tough to miss. Hooks in particular are a huge threat; Blitzcrank can practically aim sideways and still catch the tip of your tail. Remember, Flame Breath has a cast time and there is plenty of time for you to get nailed by a stun before getting it off.
DO NOT EVER ATTEMPT TO HIT Dragon's Descent ON A STACKED TEAM HEAD ON WITHOUT ANY SETUP. I don't care how high the ratio is. You will get killed instantly and contribute absolutely nothing. Unless the setup is perfect or you have a Stopwatch, use it only to position for your first Flame Breath in a 5v5 setting and then hang back and pretend you're a siege tank. If you want to use Dragon's Descent for damage in a big fight, most of their team MUST be CCed and unable to retaliate, or you MUST ambush their backline from out of vision to kill them instantly before they can react. Riftmaker builds have more leeway here, but I would still only do this with a buddy and after completing my defensive item.
After reverting to human form, gaining fury is your first, last, and only priority. If action is likely in the near future, go straight to the closest available minion wave or jungle camp and begin hitting it. Do not use Burnout or Flame Breath. Only auto attack and Twin Bite until that bar is full. If you will kill the camp before reaching 100 fury, reset it and keep hitting it for as long as you need to. Ping your team away from your fury batteries and ping them to not pick a fight while you're becoming relevant again.
If cast with your cursor at the midway point in a medium thickness wall, Dragon's Descent will catapult you through at twice the usual speed. It works sort of like Flash; you attempt to jump in the middle of it and get pushed through the rest of the way. This can catch people off guard and potentially give you the extra half second you need to catch up to your prey and line up a Flame Breath. However, this risks bonking on the terrain and is thus quite risky to execute on the fly. Also, only very specific lengths of wall work. Basically, anything thick enough to barely be traversible with Dragon's Descent normally. You can't use this to jump farther than you ought to be able to, only to speed it up a bit. Be careful that this interaction does not jump you through a wall that you do not want to go through; if ulting at a target that has their back to a thick-ish wall, mind your cursor placement. I've accidentally shot through plenty of walls thanks to this strange interaction before.
The knockback effect also behaves strangely; along most of its path it will knock targets back a short way as intended, but for whatever reason at the very end of her travel path it pulls back and clumps all enemies in front of her. It's basically a vortex effect like Moonfall tied to the end of her ult. This makes landing a multi target Flame Breath rather convenient. Aim to clip targets with your muzzle on ganks whenever possible. This is tough to take advantage of, so will take practice.
Oh, and make sure to buy Championship Shyvana next Worlds and spam recall every free moment you get. It's, uh, required to do well. Honest.
Not much to say here. Pretty standard stuff. I don't have to tell you to take Smite in the jungle. You kind of, you know, have to.
Chilling Smite procs Dark Harvest and Night Harvester, and is mandatory with those builds.
Flash is the best in class offensive and defensive summoner, especially when you have a basic ability that can hit for well over 1000. Flash + Flame Breath can potentially kill an entire team. Run it with Dark Harvest Flame Breath focused builds. No exceptions!
You have more leeway when running a Riftmaker build, though. Challenging Smite pairs well with Press the Attack/ Conqueror and Riftmaker to augment your greater dueling ability, but you may still choose to go Chilling to help chase down and whack carries.
Flash remains a very strong choice with Press the Attack to let you get in range after landing Flame Breath for that big chunk of burst, but it does have competition. I don't like running it with Conqueror since the blink is less valuable with less burst potential. That being said, ALWAYS pick Flash against hook champions. Without a dash you are a free kill without it.
Ignite is a strong option to help you win the early 1v1 for scuttle crab and duel whoever you please. In conjunction with Press the Attack and Bone Plating, you can do a ton of damage while taking very little and catch people by surprise. Access to early healing reduction is very valuable with items like Eclipse, Goredrinker, and Immortal Shieldbow in the game. Champions with these items simply will not die without heal cut. You'll have to rely on this for quite some time since you should complete your core before grabbing Oblivion Orb unless in a real emergency.
Exhaust makes your ganks much more threatening and lets you shut down any cheeky assassin players, so this is a defensible choice too. Not usually my style, but if nobody else is running it and they've got a Zed, might not be a bad idea.
Ashes to Ashes: Dragonfire Scaling
Dark Harvest is the clear choice if you're looking to embody Fire. It’s the only keystone that will trigger on that one guaranteed tick of fire patch damage after a direct Flame Breath hit and still do appreciable damage. You will do more than enough damage for the impact to take carries into proc range by the midgame. The resetting component also makes it the most valuable rune to take for early skirmishes and game-deciding late 5v5s. It’s basically a resetting Electrocute that is much easier for you to trigger and pushes your long range damage from merely unreasonable to downright disgusting.
Though you can't make truly great use out of this rune since Dragon's Descent is your only way to trigger it, it's usually superior to the other options in this row. An extra 6 magic pen on 2 1.0 scaling abilities ain't too shabby. Note that the duration begins on damage applied, not on ult cast.
If you are worried about being invaded or think early skirmishes are likely, you may take Taste of Blood instead. The extra little bit of health might save you, and with dying being more punishing than ever before it's not a bad choice to make.
Eyeball gives 2 AP per takedown and a solid 30 AP after 10, and we love us some free AP. I don't like to take sweeper since I heavily prioritize objectives over ganks so Zombie Ward isn't an option, and since yellow trinket's cooldown scales down from 4 to 2 minutes on all 10 player's average level, Ghost Poro would take longer than 10 takedowns to stack up most of the time, though its effect is potentially very useful. I'm not even sure if you get credit for it if your wards are swept and killed early. You ought to have your 10 stacks by the end of the first major midgame fight.
Ravenous is now a shell of its former self after repeated nerfs and now does almost nothing until stacked. Still, almost nothing is still better than nothing, and every point of health is crucial in the early game. Shyvana makes poor use out of the other options in the row, so this remains the best choice. Since this 11% omnivamp stacks with the new jungle item, Smite and rift eyes will heal you for an insane amount. Once stacked up, your Flame Breath in the later stages of the game will heal you for between 30-50 health per target hit, which will help you shrug off poke and may save your life in a fight.
Haste is vital to making the build work since your only source of real damage is your Flame Breath, which is where Transcendence comes in. It's been reworked to give 5 haste at level 5 and 5 more at level 8 so that the game hasn't already been decided before we get it online. And at 11, we get 20% of our remaining basic ability cooldowns refunded on takedown, potentially shaving off a second or more of our Flame Breath cooldown per kill.
This rune is MANDATORY. Because haste is much harder to come by in season 11 and we can't just cap on Runic and Nashor's, no other rune is worth considering.
Gathering Storm pairs very well with your high ratios, potential Infernal drakes, and Rabadon's Deathcap for good value at 20 minutes and gigantic chunks past 30. The later the game goes, the stronger AP Shyvana gets, and this rune plays to that strength and amplifies your ridiculous lategame 1v9 potential. With Rabadon's Deathcap you get 65 AP from this rune at 30 minutes. That's a free Needlessly Large Rod. If it goes to 40, you'll get 108 and will probably start one hitting people.
If you're against an AP champion like Evelynn or Nidalee, I wouldn't hold it against you if you decide to go for some more safety over Gathering Storm, particularly if you have weaker lanes and it is likely you will be pressured.
Fang and Claw: Frontline Bruiser
Press the Attack
This is your go-to choice versus squishy champions and aggressive junglers. Paired with a rushed Recurve Bow, you go from a joke to a real threat in the blink of an eye, and can easily defend yourself if invaded. Once you have some AP under your belt, you'll be able to easily one shot any squishy that gets too close to your jaws.
Conq still has a place against extremely beefy enemy teams. The healing once fully stacked has been cut from 15% to 9%, but it's gained a bunch more adaptive force to compensate, and Shyvana stacks it unusually quickly. As long as you aren't locked down for a long period of time, you will be very hard to take down with this extra little bit of healing on top of Riftmaker and Ravenous Hunter.
Good old Triumph. A 12% missing health heal on takedown often makes or breaks early fights and stops trade kills from coming through on the back end of a play. The extra 20 gold is also appreciated and can get you that extra little bit to make your next recall a clean buy. This can be upwards of 500 gold in a scrappy game.
Maybe Overheal isn't trolling? We will be getting enough vamp to keep it stacked to maximum as soon as we have our Leeching Leer, and we're also building a good bit of health to put into that 10%. Need to test this, but Triumph sets a pretty high bar to clear.
Draintanks need to drain to tank, so CC is our mortal enemy. Since we get plenty of AS from Nashor's Tooth, Alacrity is unnecessary and lifesteal is, of course, meaningless for us, so this is almost always the best choice. It is very rare that a team will have so little CC to make Alacrity an attractive option, particularly when we are not looking to build Mercury's Treads.
Coup de Grace
Mo damage mo money. Last Stand is tempting, but we don't really get tanky enough to use it to its fullest. By the time it fully activates we usually either have to back off or we are already dead, and we've usually already used our burst combo by that point so it doesn't end up being very impactful. I'd rather get that extra bit of damage to help get the kill and Triumph proc.
Draintank gotta drain, and 11% more omnivamp helps a lot with that. This brings us up to 36% omnivamp vs monsters, making solo Baron a VERY real possibility at as little as 3 items + boots. However, if you have multiple heavy-healing champions or those who like to build lifesteal/omnivamp on your team and it is certain you will be playing into 3+ grievous wound items, you may wish to take a rune that is not going to be so easily countered. I play with my Warwick buddy a lot, and so don't usually have the opportunity for example.
I don't have a strong preference for the second rune to pair with it yet. Sudden Impact for fighting power, Taste of Blood for a small early defensive heal, Zombie Ward if you sweep diligently, or just Eyeball Collection for the chunk of AP are all viable options.
The scaling defensive option for games that look like they're gonna go slow. This rune gives about 3-4% damage mitigation, more if penetration is at play, and amplifies your high base resistances + drake stacks. It won't do a thing for you early, so if you take this against a Nidalee or a Kha'Zix, Imma slap ya.
This is just a damn good rune. Mitigating 90+ damage is a LOT early. That's like 10% of your entire life bar. 180 isn't too shabby later on into the game, either, though Conditioning provides a much more consistent benefit and easily outvalues it later on. This is because you must be careful that Bone Plating does not get poked off of you before a big skirmish. You can't take ANY damage until the fight starts, which is not always possible.
Again, CC bad, Tenacity good. If you run this with Legend: Tenacity, Mercury's Treads, and Elixir of Iron, CC will be reduced by as much as 75% and may as well not exist.
Again, start Hailblade with Dark Harvest. No exceptions. It also procs Night Harvester, so that goes double for you if that's the plan.
Emberknife is the go-to for an AP bruiser build around Riftmaker, but Hailblade remains an option. Make sure you don't sit on 2 charges and get Smite upgraded as fast as possible.
DO NOT START WITH Refillable Potion. This is VERY important. We can complete a full clear without a pot with 30-50% life depending on leash strength if executed properly, enough to carefully contest first crab. Lane priority typically decides this anyway, and oftentimes the crabs just get traded since starting red buff is so favored after the krug buff. A full clear plus crab is only worth ~900 gold. Recurve Bow costs 1000. We would have to either steal a camp (risky, probably already all gone), get a successful gank off (very difficult and unreliable at this point), steal some farm (and tilt your laners), or waste a lot of time waiting for passive gold generation. It's not worth the extra safety at all. Many champions are skipping pots to cleanly get to their first purchase, and we're gonna be one of them. If nothing goes wrong, your first recall will give you just enough for the bow and a Control Ward for drake.
First Recall: Recurve bow
Unfortunately, though the Hunter's Talisman burn remains on the new jungle items, Hunter's Machete is gone for good. We got a lot out of machete because Twin Bite procced it twice. A rushed Recurve Bow makes up some of that difference and gives enough attack speed to get the clear machine up and running first thing in the game.
I can't even begin to tell you how nice it is that we get to rush this item now. Shyvana uses it extremely well and it makes all builds much harder to bully in the early game. This goes a long way towards mitigating one of her key weaknesses, and I don't actually mind losing the CDR on Nashor's Tooth as a result.
Second Recall: Dark Seal
For some ungodly reason that I cannot wrap my head around, Dark Seal was MEGA buffed for Season 11. It traded mana for health, which we of course love, and now gives 5 AP PER GLORY STACK, the same as Mejai's Soulstealer. This means that this absolutely insane, broken *** item can potentially give 65 AP for 350G.
DARK SEAL IS NOW CORE. Buy one early in EVERY game, no matter what, PERIOD. It also lets you get a head start on a Mejai's Soulstealer if the game plays out in your favor.
Use your remaining money on Boots, Refillable Potion, and Control Wards before looking towards upgrading your bow into...
Fury generation, objective pressure, dueling power: Nashor's Tooth
Nashor's Tooth is still a necessity on AP Shyvana. It gives you much quicker access to Dragon's Descent through its hefty attack speed bonus, which you are next to useless without, and it also lets you take objectives and clear your jungle much faster. Shyvana is designed to revolve around attack speed, and skipping out on it slows your clear speed to a crawl. Since AS is so vital and she gets so much out of Nashor's, it makes sense to always build this before any of her Mythic options.
Though its CDR has been removed, the on-hit proc synergizes with your Twin Bite and has been buffed to 20% AP, letting you defend yourself outside of dragon form with stronger sustained damage. The extra 20 AP also lightens the blow of losing Runic Echoes. It's an incredibly efficient and over budgeted item because there aren't many champions in the game who value both attack speed and AP, so it has to hold up this niche all by itself.
Boots: Sorc shoes
Sorcerer's Shoes are your only option. Most priority targets start at only 30-odd magic resist and gain very little over the course of the game. Damage resistance scales logarithmically, so reducing a small number by 18 translates into TONS OF DAMAGE . Let's assume that a Vayne has neglected to buy any MR while rushing her 2 item 1v9 powerspike and is currently at 40. This reduces her damage taken by 28.5%. Subtract 18 and we get 22. Now she only has 18% damage reduction. That's a boost of 10%. If we have 200 AP and our empowered Flame Breath hits for 580 before mitigation, we've gone from 420.5 to 475.6 damage. That's equivalent to building an extra 76 AP. If there were boots that gave 76 AP for 800 gold, you bet we'd all be calling them busted and demanding a nerf. And magic pen only gets more valuable from there as you build more AP. You won't need defensive boots if you play properly with how long range your Flame Breath is, and for this sort of payoff you need to learn how to.
Heal Cut: Oblivion Orb
Orb is still practically core, but for different reasons. It, and Morellonomicon, have had their identity crisis finally solved. They are now solely anti-healing items, and grievous wounds is an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY in season 11. Immortal Shieldbow, Eclipse, Goredrinker, and the new Ravenous Hydra are just some of the insane healing items that MUST be countered in order to kill their wielders in any reasonable amount of time, if at all.
Oblivion Orb is now also only 800G, on par with Executioner's Calling, so it's easy to pick up. You don't have the excuse of telling your ADC to get exe anymore because it costs 3000G to get heal cut on a mage. Just do it yourself or you WILL lose games over it, I promise you.
If you can afford to delay picking this up until after your Mythic, do so. But if you see Aatrox and Olaf on the other team rush Goredrinker and their ADC went Immortal Shieldbow, you may not be able to wait.
From here, builds diverge based on keystone and mythic selection. There are two builds to go over focused on backline nuke launching and one that is based on early power and drain tanking as an AP bruiser.
This build is the closest we can get to Season 10 Shyvana. It will take longer to get to similar amounts of CDR, but ends up being much stronger and tougher to punish once allowed to scale up.
Mythic: Night Harvester
This item is a very well-rounded power spike. It has 15 haste with 5 additional added per completed item for a total of 35. A typical full build can give you as much as 48% CDR by the old standard. With a blue buff on top of this, Flame Breath will be just under a 4 second cooldown. This is absolutely terrifying if you're a squishy carry, but very few games end up going this long.
300 health is quite a bit and lets you take an extra hit or two, on top of the proc making you very hard to chase down and punish. Though its proc damage was just nerfed substantially, down to literally half of what it launched at, it is still much stronger than Runic Echoes and will give you even more chunking power than we had in season 10.
When popping off: Mejai's
Grab yourself a Mejai's Soulstealer early if your team is crushing it and you have 10 stacks on your Dark Seal. I’d say if you’re 8 or more kills up and a few turrets, go for it. You get a very nice 10% movespeed buff while at 10 stacks and above, so just being able to take advantage of that for one outing on the map pays for itself in my mind.
Though a bit more expensive now, the extra health it now gives is well worth it, as it makes it that little extra bit tougher to drop your stacks. Mejai's is also considered a legendary item, meaning that it gives a mythic stat bonus for 1600G. If you do manage to die, you may wish to attempt to restack the item once or twice before selling it to maintain this bonus.
If you have a fully stacked book, a Rabadon's Deathcap, and an Elixir of Sorcery, you’re in 1v9 territory and are almost impossible to stop. If you’ve racked up a big bounty, grab it since you’ll be trying very hard to not die anyway. It might not be the best idea if they have powerful pick tools like Assault and Battery or a fed assassin, though, so check for those first. It will make you a bigger target and attract their attention for sure.
For MR: Void Staff
You’ll need to pick up a Void Staff if your priority targets wake up and start getting magic resist. You can only blow people up so many times before they get sick of it, so keep checking that scoreboard. Don’t worry so much if Darius or Udyr build Maw of Malmortius, you’ll need your team's help to deal with them no matter what you build, but if Tristana starts building towards one and their mid has a Banshee's Veil, you’ll need that 40% spell pen quick. It's rare, but sometimes you'll have to build Void Staff right after your mythic if your comp is high in magic damage and the entire enemy team gets fast MR.
If this does happen to be the case, the good news is that now we can build a mini void staff as a component! It only gives 15% pen, but that's a hell of a lot better than doing no damage for 8 minutes while we desperately try to scrounge up the full cost of the item.
Haste, haste haste! Cosmic Drive
If neither emergency option is required, then go right for the Drive. This is your ideal 4th item (if stacking isn't working out, that is). 30 Haste is the most on any item in the game, and this is where we'll be getting back to our comfortable levels of CDR. It procs for a good amount of movement speed on spell hit, has 200 more health on it, and combined with Night Harvester will let you easily kite out and avoid most threats to your life. It's got a great build path too out of Fiendish Codex and Kindlegem for easy haste on the way there.
It's time to stop! Hourglass
In another inexplicable and completely insane move, Riot decided to buff ZHONYA'S HOURGLASS of all things, cutting its cost by 400G to only 2500. I don't know how a champion like Zed or Fiora is even supposed to function with stasis being so easy to get. I mean, I'm not complaining, but holy ****, like, WHY???
The strongest item in the game is now incredibly easy to obtain. If you're against reliable dive ( Vi, Camille, Olaf) or telegraphed burst ( Lux, Syndra) and you don't buy this, you are trolling. It's now very unlikely that you will be forced to use your Stopwatch and be stuck without stasis for a long period of time. You'll more than likely easily complete the item on your next recall. It even still has haste on it. Buy buy buy!
Once you have access to stasis, tackling a team with Dragon's Descent into a point blank Flame Breath is no longer kamikaze trolling, but a game winning decisive play. Just make sure your team is close enough to follow up within 2.5 seconds.
To ruin people: Deathcap
Rabadon's Deathcap will make your Flame Breath terrifying and is the correct choice if you're up against several really squishy carry champions who are just refusing to build MR. A CC heavy lineup on your side is another point in the hat’s favor since you’ll have guaranteed hits set up for you, sometimes on multiple targets at once, which is where the true value of the build lies. Reset mechanics on your side are more reasons to go hat, since one good Flame Breath will set your boy Darius up to demolish their entire team. If you’ve got a couple Infernal drakes and/or a stacked Mejai's Soulstealer, build hat to further amplify your stacked AP.
It's been nerfed rather heavily, losing 5% AP amplification and being 200G more expensive. Build this item 5th or 6th, never 4th.
If against heavy AP and high threat spells: Banshee's
I almost never buy Banshee's Veil since Zhonya's Hourglass is infinitely more useful in almost every situation. Take a fed Lux for instance. You can buy Banshee's Veil and avoid Light Binding once every 40 seconds if you’re lucky enough that it doesn't get popped by a Luden's Tempest proc or some other stupid and irrelevant spell right beforehand, or you can take Zhonya's Hourglass and avoid her full combo whenever you get hit anyway, MR be damned. It’s just so much more versatile and synergistic with Shyvana’s kit. I wouldn’t even look at Banshee's Veil unless they have 3 heavy AP champs and an Ashe or something, but there are situations where it is the correct buy as a 5th or 6th item, especially against champions who must start their rotation with one specific spell in order to be threatening ( Fizz, Vladimir, Diana, Annie, etc.).
For game deciding fights: Blue Elixir
The blue soda has quite a kick. Not only is 50 AP nothing to sneeze at with your 1.0 ratios (probably even more because of Infernals and Deathcap), it adds 25 true damage to every hit on a small per-target cooldown. And that cooldown is... 5 seconds. Almost exactly what your Flame Breath CD is at 40% CDR. Funny how that works out.
Make sure you have one running for Baron/Elder fights, Baron pushes, and last-ditch defenses. It's close to 75 damage per target per hit, and it could very well be the difference between winning and losing.
Sometimes, if your team has a ton of setup and CC and your opponents are relatively immobile, you just need to hit as hard as possible. This build trades safety and haste for raw power, letting you instantly delete priority targets.
Mr. Penetrator: Luden's
The new Luden's is not something to be slept on. Though the 600 mana on the item is completely wasted on us, the Mythic bonus more than makes up for it. As you already know since the old oblivion orb was basically core, flat pen = tons of damage, and now a full build gets us to 44, much more than the 33 we were stuck with last season. This is enough to get a carry down to 0 MR, turning your Flame Breath into true damage. If we take a target with 44 MR as a best case scenario, the penetration on Luden's Tempest gives us as much as 20% more damage than a Night Harvester build, at the cost of 15 haste and 300 health.
It was just buffed to 20 haste, making it much less risky to use and a serious challenger to the more consistent Night Harvester. At the time you pick them up, you now have the same amount of haste in both build paths. The main difference now is how squishy Luden's leaves you. You can easily end up sorely missing the 300 health on Harvester. Make sure both compositions incentivize going for power over safety before considering this item. This means lots of frontline and control on your side and lack of reliable backline access on theirs.
The build path is extremely bad, however, so try not to get stuck on a Lost Chapter if you can help it. 10 haste isn't really worth the recall; do everything you can to complete it from your Blasting Wand and a book or two.
The proc also doesn't care what it procs on and will help you with clearing camps and waves, which is nice. Though Night Harvester is stronger early, the extra pen will leave it in the dust by the time you get your 4th item, particularly if you choose...
Poke master: Horizon Focus
A brand new item, Horizon is the best friend of long range artillery mages, which is exactly what we are. It just has 100 AP, but upon landing a spell on a target 750+ range away, it gains 10% damage, gives you that bonus regardless of distance for 6 seconds, and reveals them. Think of this item as a mini Rabadon's Deathcap.
750 range is about 2 steps closer than your max Flame Breath range in human form, so you can always proc this effect relatively easily before going in (max range is 950, in case you were wondering). Reveal has serious utility in fights, preventing any cute vision plays and making it very easy for your team to chase down and murder that carry you just chunked to nothing.
Horizon goes exceptionally well with Rabadon's Deathcap, and you should definitely look to pair these items when running Luden's Tempest. Stacking percentage increases together quickly becomes unreasonable, and direct hits approaching 1800 are possible on a squishy with a full build. However, this leaves you with only one situational item slot and may not be realistic in every game.
If other items take priority over this match made in heaven, Horizon Focus actually makes for a competitive 6th item purchase for Deathcap. It's far cheaper and gives nearly the same amount of damage on your Flame Breath with a blue potion rolling for 300G less. Games can end suddenly, and being able to finish an item faster for the penetration stack has value.
Consider the same situational options as above: Cosmic Drive if more haste is desired, Zhonya's Hourglass to prevent being jumped on and popped, Mejai's Soulstealer in a winning game (particularly valuable here for the earlier Mythic bonus), Void Staff VS MR, Morellonomicon VS new OP healing items. Ideally you'll have Horizon Focus, Rabadon's Deathcap, and Mejai's Soulstealer/ Cosmic Drive/ Void Staff for your full build. If more than one deviation from this full glass setup is necessary, you probably should have gone for Night Harvester instead.
The top end of this build is absolutely absurd. I've already hit a Nami for over 1400 damage without a fully completed build, AND she had Mercury's Treads. No MR, no survive, and I am very much looking forward to building this more often after the buff.
AP Bruiser frontline
Finally, we get to the exciting part. Long neglected, Season 11 finally added many options for AP bruisers to make their mark on the game. Again, I view this build as the perfect marriage of both styles of Shyvana. It can poke well AND combo for terrifying amounts of damage in melee range. You end up losing very little in the way of burst potential in exchange for huge gains in survivability and sustained damage. Your carries will also appreciate the extra frontliner!
Since focusing less on Flame Breath allows us to take stronger runes and summonser spells, look to run this build against strong early junglers to prevent yourself from being run out of your own jungle. You're still going Nashor's Tooth first, and the quick Recurve Bow with aggressive options lets you stand up to just about anyone, including famed duelists like Udyr and Olaf. If you have a severe lack of frontline, I also suggest giving it a shot. The first time you get past 4 items, I promise you, you'll get hooked!
Our long awaited AP bruiser support is finally here! This item is basically old Hextech Gunblade and Liandries torment fused together. 15% omnivamp on a champion that hits as hard as Shyvana is quite a bit of healing, and the 10% damage amp is EXTREMELY valuable, particularly when converted to true damage. Remember that most Gangplanks were buying Liandries third last season, an AP item, because percentage damage amplification is such a huge bonus. Its mythic passive is 5% MR shred per stack, giving you half a Void Staff for free with a full build. Great for tearing through that frontline if you can't find a chance to pressure a carry, and it makes your Sorcerer's Shoes significantly more impactful on softer targets.
Riftmaker is specifically tuned to be weak at the point you pick it up, having only 150 health and a slow to scale effect, because its vamp and amplification becomes much more valuable as the game progresses. Be aware that you are not yet unstoppable when you pick it up and require another big purchase or two to become the raid boss that all dragons aspire to be.
Flexible boot choice
I still like going Sorcerer's Shoes with Riftmaker, but if the enemy team's damage profile is more than 70% AD or AP, defensive boots may be too good to pass up. Plated Steelcaps make AD carries and many fighters like Tryndamere very sad. Tenacity is extremely valuable with this build as well, and stacking it into heavy CC teams is never a bad idea.
At this point, we are going to need a strong defensive option as our 4th choice. AP/Health items are great and we will be rounding out our build with them, but you end up being made out of paper without any resistances. It's just not viable without an insane lead. I've zeroed in on three options to consider depending on the enemy damage profile.
If you're killing it, Mejai's Soulstealer remains a smart buy at this point too, but be careful with jumping in with those stacks before you get the chance to beef up.
VS Heavy AP: Spirit Visage
Though it lost some stats and the healing amp has been nerfed to 25%, Spirit Visage remains a strong option and now also buffs up any shields given to you. However, AP heavy compositions are much more rare than AD just based off of the meta in every role, so you probably won't get the chance to build this very often.
If you have a Soraka or other heavy healing/shielding support, Spirit Visage may be worth building even against a more balanced composition. Keep this in mind.
I prefer Visage to Force of Nature in most situations to augment the omnivamp on this build, but FoN remains something to consider against many backline control mages that are tough to reach and stick to.
Wit's End is also nice, but I like something a little more beefy at this point in the build. Go for it if you're comfortably in the lead against many melee AP champions but would still like some MR to your name.
VS Even damage profile: Gargoyle's
Now that it no longer reduces your damage dealt, Gargoyle's is a fantastic one stop shop for resistances against a balanced composition. It gives you 60 of both, up to 70 in a fight, and has a great active that plays well with our upcoming AP/Health options. This item effectively doubles bonus health in a fight. We will only have 150 bonus health when we pick this up, making it a bit lame at first. Consider building the Giant's Belts first to shore this up fast.
Conveniently enough, all three of the above options have haste on them as well, further securing them as the frontrunners for defensive itemization.
The Holy Trinity
And I suppose I will present this concept here. If you find yourself with a 20/0 Azir, or a Lulu + Kog'Maw that's popping off, or an insanely fed Vayne and all you have to do is stand between them and the enemy team, consider building what I'm calling the Holy Trinity: The Gage, The Plate, and the Holy Spirit (visage). These items synergize EXCEPTIONALLY well with eachother. The health feeds into the Stoneplate active, you get two massive shields that Visage increases by 25%, and the resists on Stoneplate make the health and shields super valuable. You can tank an entire team for several seconds with this setup, giving your hypercarry plenty of time to clean house. Amen.
And for aforementioned offensive options, we have:
Sticking power/Peeling: Rylai's
Freshly buffed back to a 30% slow, Rylai's is a very strong option to frustrate melee champions and control fights. Your flame patch becomes a slow field with this item. It will also let you stick to and finish off any squishies that you manage to dive onto. Importantly, it builds out of Giant's Belt again instead of just a Ruby Crystal, great for frontlining, especially if gargoyle's stoneplate is the play.
A final Aggressive option: Lich Bane
This is your ultimate greedy 6th buy. For season 11 its AP ratio was cut in exchange for DOUBLING the base AD component on the proc. Since Shyvana's base AD is pretty high, this ends up being a great trade for lower AP, non-Deathcap builds like this one. Do not consider building this until you are coming up on level 18, as we need Twin Bite maxed in order to proc it consistently in fights.
For critical moments: Tank pot
Most of the time I prefer to buy brown pot with Riftmaker. The extra 300 health on top of your resistances will make you much tougher to take down, as well as giving more tenacity to keep the drain train rolling. It also makes you bigger, and big dragons are awesome.
Elixir of Sorcery remains an option for those im-too-fed-and-IDGAF games.
Early game (0:00 to 14:00)
Potential level 1 shenanigans
A few rules of thumb for level 1 strategies. Champions with long duration roots and hook abilities like Blitzcrank, Morgana, and Thresh love to invade early looking for free kills. If you have one of these and your team has the stronger level 1, ping to invade bot side jungle. This has the greatest chance of finding a pick. If the other team has one and you do not, call to stack in the botside river bush by mid.
Wait to skill your first ability. If you find an isolated target, skill Flame Breath. If you find their entire team, skill Burnout instead, which will deal more damage to multiple targets than Flame Breath will, and you are unlikely to be able to land it on a good target or stick to them if you can. You also need the movement speed to stay in auto range through what will almost certainly be at least one slowing effect, as well as to help you Flash out and escape when near death.
If you pick up first blood, immediately recall and buy a Dagger + Refillable Potion. This will set your first clear into overdrive and keep your health topped off throughout, giving you a ton of tempo over the enemy.
If you were forced to start Burnout and can’t get a leash, clear chickens, red, krugs and then back to clear blue side. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best you can do. Trying to kill any other camp without Flame Breath really sucks and wastes a lot of time.
You may also choose to invade topside with your top and midlaner to attempt to 3-buff your opponent. I would only attempt to do this if your solo lanes are significantly more powerful at level 1 than their counterparts, as Shyvana is quite weak by herself at this point.
If nothing ends up happening, spotting whichever buff you aren't starting at is a great use of your first ward. Place it in pixel bush at 1:10. This should catch any steal attempts. Some champions like Graves like to start their red and then hop over the pit wall to go right to your blue. Shift your ward to watch for this. A full clear leaves plenty of time for it to be taken away if left open if the enemy started on the opposite side of the map. Hopefully your team can collapse for a free kill if they try. If not, use vertical jungling to even things out.
Your jungle path is always going to be a full clear. Currently, I think that always starting red buff is best when possible. This lets you clear the super-valuable krug camp twice before drake spawns and lets you easily move from gromp to crab to contest at level 4 with most of you life bar intact.
If you're playing backline and your counterpart likes to level 3 invade ( Lee Sin, Elise, Rengar, Olaf, Rek'Sai, Nidalee, etc.), you may wish tostart topside instead and clear down. These champions will be much more hesitant to invade the botside of the map because being collapsed on by botlane is a big threat, especially now that tanky engage supports are so popular. I’ve noted these in the matchup section above. Don't worry about this so much if you're going for bruiser. You can probably just kill them if you find them.
Low elo junglers lose entire minutes over the course of a game to little inefficiencies that build up over time. Move between your auto attacks in the direction of your next camp. This saves you travel time and can reset the camp’s auto timer, giving you some extra health.
Whether you Smite your first buff or your first camp depends on the strength of your leash and your Flame Breath cooldown. Don’t use Smite on a very strong leash, obviously. Weaker leashes will leave the buff with 390 life when your Flame Breath still has a few seconds left on its cooldown; Smite it and use Flame Breath on your next camp. No leash at all will have the buff at 600 life or so when your Flame Breath comes back up, so do so again and Smite your first camp.
Don’t mark your targets at max range. You have just enough time for 4 autos at this point before it expires, so applying your mark too early will cost you a big chunk of damage.
When doing Krugs second, kite the medium krug around the big one so that it doesn’t hit you. You need to be looking to save every point of life during your first clear, as Shyvana will get quite low otherwise. This seems to be significantly easier now; the krug's new shiny model seems to have affected their hitboxes.
Auto a little chicken to aggro the camp and walk back a bit so that they line up for your Flame Breath. Run through the camp between your auto attacks while you are killing it, as with so many of them at least one will get creep blocked and be unable to hit you. Without Hunter's Talisman's leech, chickens hurt a LOT. Kite them for a few seconds while Burnout is down. Don't leave the bush until all chickens are dead. Having one reset on you is disastrous and is not worth trying to save a second or two.
Wolves are much more generous with their resetting and can easily be brought to the blue bush before they leash. Drag the blue over to gromp between auto attacks, Smite the gromp, and hit both with your second Flame Breath right when blue is about to die.
You can clear your entire jungle by 3:20 or so and be level 4 for the first scuttle crab. Use the vision plant before stepping into the river to make sure you don't round the corner right into an Olaf axe. With Dark Harvest, Shyvana cannot directly contest many junglers for the first few crabs. However, lane priority has much more of an impact on who gets the crab than your matchup. If you have it and the other jungler shows up, simply keep the crab in vision until your lanes rotate and then move in. If you do not, just concede the crab and leave. DO NOT risk dying for it. Dying without catchup XP is ridiculously punishing, and the first jungler to die usually ends up losing control over the entire game. Do not attempt to steal the crab without priority unless the enemy jungler has absolutely no CC.
A bruiser setup can be much more assertive here, and it's one of the major reasons why I love the build so much. Press the Attack, Bone Plating, and Ignite will absolutely destroy your opponent even at a significant health disadvantage. You will also have a level lead on your side since it is impossible to get to the crab in time from krugs. Just make sure they don't also have Bone Plating and be aware that they will probably have their Smite up to heal on the nearby crab.
First gank window
Once the crab is dead, it should be around 3:40. This is your first gank window. Quickly glance at adjacent lanes for open targets, but don't waste too much time, as your Krugs will have already respawned. More often than not, side lanes will be a better target than mid. Without a dash or hard CC, Shyvana struggles to gank the short and safe mid lane unless her target is extended past the river and your mid has CC of their own.
By contrast, many people will simply not ward top yet, not expecting Shyvana to gank at all before 6. Don't be shy about Flashing into range to apply red buff. If they’re extended past the middle of the lane, applying it once should guarantee a kill, since Burnout easily lets you run after their Flash and continue applying it.
A few words about post-gank wave management. This is always crucial to keep in mind, but it goes double for top lane. If the enemy has Teleport up, don’t help shove the wave. This will just split the XP with your top laner and put him behind. Just leave and float around for what I call the “Hashinshin TP”. This is when the enemy top Teleports back into the middle of the lane despite you literally just taking his life. Sometimes you can just loop back around and kill him again. This will usually tilt-spiral him and win the game instantly.
If he does not have Teleport and the wave is pushing, help shove it in. If the wave is slow pushing towards your team though, LEAVE IT AS IS. Top lane in particular can snowball out of control off of just one successful gank if you do this. Now that you have put their top laner behind, they more than likely will not be able to approach the wave 1v1. A skilled player in a decent matchup can keep the wave frozen indefinitely, turning a single gank into a 50 cs and 2 level lead by the midgame. Many top laners will tilt and feed for CS in this situation, or flame their jungler enough to self-destruct the entire team. Here is a particularly humorous example of this happening. Unfortunately, it happened on my team.
Regardless of if a gank is available or not, I like to leave my second ward behind in the enemy tribush while I'm in the area, especially topside. Top laners have this annoying habit of overextending, being ganked, and spam pinging you as if it's your fault. This makes it marginally less likely.
If your top is kicking *** and shoving in, lying in wait for the enemy jungler who doubtless will have noticed this and is heading over is a great strategy. Shyvana with a red buff can be very dangerous if facechecked, even with Dark Harvest. That is, so long as it isn't a fair and balanced duelist like Olaf.
If the enemy jungle early ganked the far side lane, use this time to steal away his opposing jungle if no gank opportunities present themselves. Many early gank focused junglers use red-blue-gromp or blue-gromp-red pathing in order to rush level 3 for early pressure, so you can safely assume that everything else is up in this case. Look to steal chickens in particular. They are easily accessible, worth a lot, and Shyvana mulches them. Krugs are a great prize, but are much riskier to take. As a general rule, take enemy farm whenever possible and leave a small dog or chicken behind to delay the respawn and add to your lead.
Occasionally you will have the opportunity to countergank. As you lack any sort of gap closer or CC before level 6, this is usually the only way for you to impact the early game. Backline builds are weaker than most junglers at this stage in the game, but you are still able to do a respectable amount of damage so long as you identify the correct focus target and land your Flame Breath. Again, frontline setups can be much less afraid.
Knowing if it’s a good idea to go in and assist comes down to game knowledge and experience. Some champions like Olaf should just always be ignored, others like Kayn may be beaten quite easily. If a matchup is listed as a major or extreme threat, be very careful in how you approach the skirmish. If you miss your Flame Breath, just back off. You NEED that mark to be helpful unless the fight is already won. It's a huge chunk of your damage.
In any case, try to start your recall no later than 4:00. Don't waste too much time waiting for "maybe" plays. You have somewhere very important to be. Buy Recurve Bow and a Control Ward; you will have just enough money if no extra opportunities presented themselves. If you picked up an early kill or two and are loaded, grab Boots too.
Taking first drake
Shyvana is the absolute best champion in the game at securing drakes for her team. This is more important than ever before, as Soul buffs are incredibly powerful win conditions. As such, getting the first couple for free will go a long way towards eventual victory and will buy you 5-10 minutes of extra time to scale in a losing game. Even in high ELO, people are oftentimes unprepared for Shyvana's drake rush and you can snag it completely uncontested about 80%-90% of the time.
If bot scuttle is already dead, that's actually great for you. The blast cone behind drake pit conveniently spawns anytime between 5:00 and 5:30. Clear your botside first, cone over, slap your ward down at the entrance to the pit, and kill the dragon. You should be left completely alone as the crab will give the other team a false sense of security. This works just fine on both teams, though blue side obviously makes it easier. If not and you can approach from the front, make sure you ward the cone over the wall so that you can be ready for any potential steal attempts.
It is possible to pull and kill the drake from the front while remaining outside of the crab's vision range, but this is very precise and tricky to pull off, and potentially disastrous if you mess it up. It also puts you in vision range of either the pixel bush or the bot river bush. Still, it's cool to know, and if you are confident in your pulling skills, go for it.
Unless the enemy team responds immediately, the drake is already yours. At level 5, you kill the thing in about 18 seconds. You can get your first auto- Twin Bite off before it knocks you back if you Flame Breath in auto range. Use your second Twin Bite right away without your mark up. The timing should work out so that your third Twin Bite brings it into Smite range.
Drakes have 21 armor and 30 MR (except for mountain, which has 41/50). If you see a steal attempt coming, make sure you time Smite with Twin Bite while your Flame Breath mark is up. Unless you get hit by CC, this should guarantee you get the drake. At level 5 at this point in the game with this setup, you can burst drake for 912 damage (822 for mountain), so pull the trigger the second you see it fall below 900/800 life to be safe. Only a select few champions are able to beat this, so if necessary, commit and die for the drake. You will always get it with good timing and a kill for drake is well worth it.
If a fight breaks out during this time, (say, enemy jungler ganks bot right as you blast cone over), prioritize the drake. You offer very little in a skirmish before level 6 and are not likely to be useful. The higher percentile play is to make sure you secure drake. Most of the time you will kill it before the enemy team can finish fighting and go for it.
Finally, drake type slightly impacts how you approach them. Mountain and Infernal are boring and don’t do much DPS, just point them away from any teammates in the area. Mountain takes a little longer to kill than the others. Cloud does a high amount of single target DPS, and you may be forced to Smite early if engaging it below half life. Finally, Ocean applies a fairly significant slow which can easily kill you if you get caught. Take an extra second to watch the enemy for any signs of rotating before starting him in particular.
Once drake dies, it should be between 5:30 and 5:45 if you went unmolested. You’ll be beat up a bit and still level 4-5, so unless someone is int-pushing you’re going to want to finish your clear. This will give you level 6 at around 6:30 if everything went well. If you picked up a kill or a couple of waves, you’ll have your ultimate even earlier.
By this point, your lanes should be making their first recalls. Be aware of this and try to swing by to snap up any crashed waves on your side of the map. They are well worth going out of your way for. Your camps will still be there when you’re done, and it’s a big chunk of XP and gold for you, especially if it’s a canon wave.
Second gank window: going RAWR!
At long last, you are ready to impact the map. Target selection is critical; since you can only really make a meaningful gank with Dragon's Descent available, you must make every one count. For this reason, bot lane always makes a juicy target. Splitting experience makes them lower level, and most AD carries are easily chunked to death. The extra target also gives your ult more value, and many popular engage supports like Nautilus and Leona offer insane gank assist. However, don’t be afraid to give mid and top some love if you have strong setup abilities to work with. Excellent midlaners to gank for include Ahri, Malzahar, and Lissandra, and you should always be ready to gank them as soon as their ults are up. Similar top laners include Camile and Kled.. Of course, if the enemy top laner is someone nearly impossible to kill like Garen or Poppy, just ignore the lane entirely unless he’s taking plates on 300 life.
Ambushing enemies who are taking turret plates is a phenomenal use of your ult. You’ll end up right on top of them so that they can’t juke your Flame Breath, and in many cases will be able to land Dragon's Descent as well, guaranteeing a kill on potentially multiple targets. You’ll have more than enough time for a second follow-up Flame Breath as they flee in terror back down the lane. These opportunities are gold mines; watch for them.
All river bushes are commonly warded. Avoid these and ult over walls which are unlikely to have coverage for best results. For example getting into bot lane to gank blue team through the drake pit and mid lane through the enemy chicken coop works well. Hanging back in fog and letting your laner start a fight to bait the enemy forward is a great tactic. If you must cross a warded bush, ult over it from fog to give your prey less time to react.
DO NOT GANK list
I don't really know where exactly to put this since when a champion is too threatening for Shyvana to gank varies widely. This is important knowledge, and as such should be gone over somewhere. I'm putting it here since this is when you will think about fighting top laners with their ultimates, which comprises most of the list. As discussed previously, most bruisers and top lane duelists are a nightmare to play into, and most tanks are simply a waste of time to interact with. Make sure if you go for a play on these champions that they are out of gas, or that you have a similarly strong champion on your side. List is likely incomplete, will update regularly.
Darius: I've seen this champion double kill me on ganks after 6 far too many times. You can win, but both of you must play it smart if he's ready to fight. Whichever one of you he decides to focus MUST back off at 4 Hemorrhage stacks to avoid giving him his passive. He gets that absurdly massive bonus, he probably double kills you. You should be the softer target, so most of the time this will be you. Get your damage off, Flash away if you have to, and let your top finish the kill.
Garen: Complete waste of time to gank at all stages of the game. The champion is extremely fast, cleanses slowing effects, gets a ton of free tank stats and mitigation, and can easily turn and all in one of you with his kit for a kill. Any damage you do will quickly be undone by Perseverance. Just ignore him.
Illaoi: Don't go anywhere near her while she has her ultimate. Dragons don't like tentacles. Well, some do, but they're weird. It's almost always best to just leave her be and let top be a farm lane. Leap of Faith can very easily double kill you on a gank. If you go for her, make damn sure that you GTFO the INSTANT she casts it, or you will be bursted from full to dead instantly.
Singed: Singed is not a person. He does not exist. Interacting with him will just get you Flinged away, waste your time, and cost you a ton of health. I don't care how far up he's proxying waves. You can't catch him without significant amounts of help from multiple people, enough to make the entire exchange not worth it.
Fiora: DO NOT 1V1 THIS CHAMPION if she has her ult. You will die, even if you have a huge health advantage. Wait for her to Riposte before using your Flame Breath. If she ults you on a gank, RUN AWAY. Fully proccing Grand Challenge will full heal her and probably give her a double kill. Sticking one of the pie slices into a wall is a great way to prevent this.
Mordekaiser: AP Shyvana cannot duel Mordekaiser. Even with a full item and a half up on him, she struggles heavily. Other builds shred him (most hilariously crit), but he just laughs at AP. So, since his ult forces you to duel him, and he will always choose to ult you, you should leave him the hell alone. Ganking him will almost always end up being a 1 for 1 trade at best.
Poppy: This rat is simply too tough to kill. She's fast, spams shields on herself, gets tankier the lower she is, and can effortlessly disengage you with Keeper's Verdict. She also does tons of damage if you misposition and let her ram you into a wall.
Olaf: Some people run Olaf top. He's a hilariously strong counterpick into certain matchups. You want to avoid him for all the same reasons that make him a nightmare to jungle against. Good chance he can 1v2 you if you don't have Ignite to cut his healing.
Pyke: Never attempt a standard gank on Pyke mid or attempt to chase him down in the jungle. I promise you, you won't catch him. You need serious lockdown and must kill him before CC expires, or he will escape and heal back over half the damage. You must wait for him to engage from fog on your midlaner or you have no hope of killing him.
Take Rift Herald
Ideally you kill one of their solo lanes with your ultimate right away and use the pressure to secure Rift for free regardless of vision. This also lets you get Dragon's Descent back at the same time for added efficiency. If you don’t have a likely looking gank window, just take the Rift by yourself. Almost nobody bothers to ward the thing and very few junglers even think about it when it spawns. Checking for vision is unnecessary. It’s like people don’t even know how good it is. You will almost never be messed with, kill it super fast with your Flame Breath mark, and get your team a free objective. If interrupted, you can usually go right back once they think they've chased you off. One final note here, omnivamp works on the eye damage, so you’ll probably heal to full while doing it.
Using Rift Herald
Now you have 4 minutes to decide how best to use Rift. You can’t go wrong with immediately running mid and dropping it. Mid lane turret is the most important turret on the map, as it offers your team the most freedom of movement once it goes down and your midlaner will appreciate the extra gold. You can drop it over walls if you hug them before pressing the button, so there should always be a chance to make this happen. This will get you at least 320G, potentially even 480G if a plate only has 300 life left. Not a bad return for a 20 second investment! Retreat immediately afterward; you will get the gold regardless of distance.
Alternatively, you may choose to hold onto it for a better opportunity. This is what I do most of the time. If one lane in particular is getting smashed and the turret is already at half life, path over there right away and gank. If successful, you will probably be able to get 2 charges off and get most of the inner turret as well, yielding higher value. If unsuccessful, just drop Rift and secure the first turret bonus of 150G for your team. This will unlock your best laners to make plays across the map, hopefully starting a snowball rolling from the spillover.
If you’re feeling selfish, waiting for an opportunity to drop it by yourself for solo plate gold is also a great choice, especially if it gets you solo first turret bonus gold on top of it. If your top laner gets solo killed for instance but managed to rough up his opponent in the process, cleaning up afterward can easily get you 3 plates plus first turret gold all to yourself, equaling 880G.
Since we are rushing Nashor's Tooth now, there is a good chance we can take all 5 plates with rift after a gank if they're available. If this is the case, drop rift after proccing two plates so that it can do its true damage into the turrets increased resistances, killing it much faster. This is a STUPID amount of money. A great way to catapult yourself into the lead and make a big dragon.
Whatever you decide, make sure to use it before 14 minutes for turret plating if you were delayed in taking it, and don’t hold onto it for so long that you become unlikely to find a good chance to use it. Trust me, watching Rift slowly tick down and expire while dead feels very, very bad.
Taking Rift nice and early also gives your team plenty of time to take the second one once it spawns 8 minutes later. A second Rift with a lead usually results in an inhibitor taken, making Baron setup a breeze to casually close out the game. You also want to take Rift off of the map before second drake spawns at 10-11 minutes so that you leave no opportunity for an objective trade.
Once you can buy Nashor's Tooth, take advantage of the empowered recall from Rift and do so no later than 20 seconds before drake spawns. You should have enough money. Then mosey on over and set up shop.
Take second drake
From this point you will have to adapt to the state of the game and things become less certain. The most important thing to worry about is second drake. Be on time with full fury and a Control Ward like before. There is a good chance you can zerg this one down, too. If they challenge it without a big lead, a well-placed Flame Breath on a carry or two should be more than enough to deter them. Not many compositions can contest Shyvana when her first Flame Breath does 40% of a carry's life.
If your team throws beforehand, stealing it with Dragon's Descent or Flame Breath + Smite is very likely. It is impossible for most champions to outsmite Shyvana. If you think you can get it, go for it. A drake is always worth dying for. Take into account how well the enemy jungler has been playing. If he’s been having an off game and seems slow, committing for the steal attempt is a great idea.
A word on elemental maps
Once the second drake dies, the map will transition to elemental state and you will know which Soul buff you’re working towards. Two are great for you personally, one is great for your team, and one is less desirable than the others. Order as such:
Cloud > Infernal > Ocean > Mountain
Cloud is by far the best for Shyvana. Not only do the drakes give extra critical fury generation (remember, you are next to useless without that ult), the map speeds you up between camps, helping you farm faster. The soul makes you nearly untouchable after you ult as well, letting you quickly place your Flame Breath wherever you need to and retreat just as fast.
Infernal’s second best. 4% AP isn’t a whole lot, but the Soul is just broken. The proc added on to your Flame Breath would make even a fed Zoe blush. It also knocks down walls around buffs, letting you move around the map faster and easily steal them away from the enemy.
Ocean’s alright. You shouldn’t be getting hit enough to make effective use out of it, but it’s great for your team as a whole. The Soul offers a frankly absurd amount of in-combat healing, and is strong enough to guarantee victory if the enemy foolishly did not itemize healing reduction. This may be the best Soul with a Riftmaker build. Dragons never die!
Mountain is dead last. You appreciate extra resistances into a hyper mobile assassin or an Olaf who hates you and everything you stand for, but most of the time you should be safely out of reach. The Soul Shield is sizable and nice to have into the above champions, but falls short of the others. Seriously good into poke champions like Ezreal, Zoe, and especially Karthus though (what is Requiem if not a global poke?).
Target remaining plates
After second drake you should have a few minutes to target any remaining turret plates before they despawn. Now that you have Nashor's Tooth, your auto attacks and Twin Bite seriously hurt turrets, especially if you snagged a few Daggers along the way. Path in that direction and keep an eye out for likely gank or countergank opportunities. Find a couple, get a good use out of Rift, and enter the midgame with as many plates taken as possible.
Mid game (14:00 to 20:00)
Treat fog of war with respect
By this point lanes will start resolving and the group and roam phase will begin, with any mistakes leading to full-scale engagements and picks leading to objectives being taken. This changes how you think about the game and play in fights. What you don't know becomes quite dangerous, as getting caught by so much as a high magnitude slow around more than one person in this damage-creeped modern meta is almost certainly lethal. Always keep in mind who you see and who you don't see, where they can be and where they can't. Remember that you are unstoppable while in Dragon's Descent and use it to negate any CC that may land on you to avoid being instantly killed.
Secure third drake: how to approach teamfights
Third drake should be up at around 16 minutes. Reset and arrive 30 seconds early this time and set up vision with your team. It is unlikely that you will be able to sneak this one away, as lanes will have resolved and the enemy will begin moving as a unit. You’ll probably have to fight for it, so now is a good time to go over how to tackle a big teamfight as AP Shyvana. In a good game you will have your mythic item by now, so you are quite a significant threat. At least, if you play correctly.
In almost every situation you should Dragon's Descent in place and fire Flame Breath from a distance over trying to tackle the enemy in a big fight, at least until you have a Stopwatch. You’ll contribute much more hanging back and firing 3-4 well placed Flame Breaths than going in for one Dragon's Descent + Flame Breathcombo and immediately dying. Though you are a dragon, you are very squishy and ulting into a fight without a godly setup is a one way ticket. Unless you know you can kill or cripple 3 or more priority targets or you know the fight will be won before they can retaliate, don’t do it. Look to sneak fireballs around their frontline and decimate their squishy targets, or if your carries are fed, stick by them and look to use Dragon's Descent + Flame Breath to instagib any diving assassins. Death is the best peel, after all. Remember that Dragon's Descent knockbacks a small distance, and can buy your fed Vayne the second she needs to get away from that 15/0 Kha'Zix. Generally, you want to identify the biggest and squishiest threat and immediately take them out of the fight.
We will still be hurting on Haste at this point, putting our Flame Breath on a pretty long cooldown, so accuracy is absolutely crucial. Do. Not. Miss. Be as patient as you need to and always look to land guaranteed shots while a good target is CCed. If you manage to hit multiple carries with a single shot, you should carry the fight single-handedly, but this is not always possible.
Most of the time you want to aim for the marksman; they almost never build defensively and have huge amounts of reliable, sustained damage. You will also absolutely obliterate squishy enchanter supports, who like to huddle right next to the marksman to juice them up and peel for them. Look for those double hits. If you're properly fed, you'll chunk them hard enough to take them completely out of the fight with one ability.
Pay special attention to abilities which self-root your enemies and take advantage of them. If you’re up against Miss Fortune for instance, watch her like a hawk and make sure you peg her with a fireball when she goes to Bullet Time. If you watch your team's positioning, predict and are ready for her ult, and fire quickly, she’ll either be forced to cancel it or roast herself to death. Forcing one of those powerful channeled ultimates to be cancelled is a very big deal. Xerath, Jhin, same thing. If you see Ezreal or Lux go to ult in a fight, you know for a fact that they are stuck in place for the better part of a second. Plenty of time to hit Flame Breath and make them regret their life choices.
Knowing when to use Dragon's Descent is absolutely crucial. Being overzealous and wasting it on a bad pick attempt, getting caught out and being forced to use it defensively, or simply misreading the 5v5 dance and ulting for a fight that doesn’t end up happening can very easily concede objectives and throw the game while you are frantically trying to build fury in order to become relevant again. That’s a nightmare scenario. Be patient while the teams dance around and feel each-other out, waiting for one side to make a mistake. Eventually someone will get caught by CC and start the fight, and you must have a full bar of fury when that happens. Ult availability is your number one priority in the mid to lategame. Spam ping your team away from creeps when you need to hit them and tell them to leave at least one jungle camp up for you. Spam danger ping when you have no ult and it looks like someone wants to engage. They may not listen, but you need to try. If it looks like they aren't getting it, find a few seconds to spell it out for them in chat.
If all goes well, your Flame Breath will find its mark and carry the fight. Then nom up that drake. If battle lines are drawn and neither team seems willing or able to engage on the other, you may elect to just kill the drake during the mexican standoff so long as you are sure they can't see you or realistically charge in and steal it. It will absolutely melt and punish their indecision.
Secure second Rift
The second rift should spawn at around 15 minutes if you took it nice and early, giving plenty of time for you to swing by. Grabbing this is very important as I’ll explain below. If your drakes were delayed and it spawns well before third drake, try to make sure that it doesn’t survive long enough for drake to spawn and give an opportunity for the other team to trade one for the other. Rift is for some reason a much lower priority in people’s minds than drake, and even the second one usually dies uncontested.
If second Rift and Drake spawn at around the same time and you are in a position in which you must choose one or the other, that depends on the game state. If you’re significantly behind and have 1-2 drakes already, take Rift. Conceding one is worth it in this case so you can’t find yourself in the tough position of contesting Baron with a dead inhibitor. If ahead, take Drake since it’s unlikely the other team will get a good use out of Rift and you will be one closer to Soul, making it exceedingly likely that you will get that sweet buff. If behind AND down two drakes, surrender. Seriously though, take drake in that scenario. Buying another 5 minutes before they get Soul is more important. Better pray to God nobody gets caught for 4 minutes and you lose the inhib for it, though.
Second rift: FIGHT!
Once you have control of the second rift, it’s time to win a big teamfight. By this point you'll be working on your 4th item, making you a huge threat to their backline. A single multi-man hit or chunk onto their most fed carry should be enough to guarantee victory. Keep in mind everything I said about fighting above and you should come on on top. Remember, you must survive in order to be able to drop Rift and secure the inhibitor. You can mow down an entire lane with that thing off the back of a won fight.
Again, remember during these larger engagements that ult availability is paramount. If a fight breaks out and you don’t have your ult, get it back up first if at all possible, even if that means you arrive late. You’re more useful using it to attempt a clean up on the back end than trying to uselessly chip away at their frontline with auto attacks.
Once you’ve killed a few enemies, pop down the Rift and take an inhibitor with your team. This will give you 5 minutes to set up an uncontestable Baron. Ideally this happens as close to its 20 minute spawn as possible, but the real world is rarely so neat and tidy.
Late game (20:00 to end)
Secure Dragon Soul
If you’ve been doing your job, the all-important Dragon soul drake should be spawning soon, sometime between 21 and 24 minutes. Make sure that once again you ping it like crazy and set up vision control in the bot river ahead of time. You'd better believe you'll have to fight for this drake.
If things have gone well up to this point, you will have your 4th item completed, making your Flame Breath absolutely devastating to any squishy champion. It is therefore extremely easy to deny an entire team's approach to drake once you and your team are properly set up, allowing you to secure Soul with no possible counterplay and checkmate the enemy. Like so:
If you just used second Rift to get that inhib, wait patiently in the mexican standoff until someone is forced to back to save nexus turrets. Then you can take it for free.
It is unlikely that the enemy team will attempt to trade it for Baron so early in the game. Not many compositions can manage it quickly enough to avoid being stopped in time. If they do, send your team to harass and contest it while you take Soul on your own. Remember, Baron is temporary and can be stalled out, especially if you manage to land a few well-placed Flame Breaths to break their siege, but Soul is eternal. If it comes down to it, prioritize Soul.
On paper, Shyvana makes for a fantastic splitpusher. She eats waves nice and fast, Twin Bite mulches turrets, she has insane siege potential, she has a lot going for her. However, most top lane tanks and bruisers can simply shrug off her damage and run her down quite easily, even at a deficit. Additionally, splitting bot as the jungler while Baron is up is a bad idea and will get you spam pinged for good reason, so your splitting options are constrained.
That being said, if you do catch a turret unattended in the late game, you can push the thing over by yourself in less than 10 seconds. Just make sure you ward up and don't get collapsed on. In most cases, you should wait to split until Baron is off the table and Dragon's Descent is recharging. Getting your ult back by splitting in a side lane while the entire enemy team is marshaled to stop your Baron push is a very high value play since you contribute next to nothing to fights without it.
The all-important Baron Nashor
Alright, so buckle down, as I have a LOT to say here. Whoever gets the first Baron is usually able to build an insurmountable lead with the amount of map pressure it offers. As the jungler, you have the most say on your team as to how to approach this objective.
Don't randomly start Baron assuming you won't be caught. This is a great way to throw your lead. If you're wrong, your whole team will be down cooldowns and down 20-30% health, which may force you to concede it and will definitely lose you vision, making it very difficult to approach the area. Or it could be outright stolen away. This is a needless risk.
Instead, always starve out vision, lie in wait, and look for picks. A little bit of patience will let you set up no-win scenarios for the enemy, making sure that nothing can possibly go wrong and you're able to close out the game nice and clean. If you got an inhibitor with second Rift, again, wait for someone to back and then start it to force a 4v5 fight. ALWAYS turn on them when they walk in range in this scenario and NEVER attempt to finish the Baron right in front of them.
The pit should always have a Control Ward in it at this stage in the game. Drop wards over the back of the pit and all over topside jungle to watch for people attempting to check Nashor. Any singular target who tries should be doomed. Most teams will just concede Baron 4v5, especially if they are behind. If they smartly group up and check as a team with the tanks in front, you're able to initiate on your terms and should easily win the fight.
If most of the enemy team is across the map in bot lane (say, chasing down your splitpusher), ping and start Baron immediately. Use your ult. Your fire patch will do upwards of 2000 damage to the Baron on its own, potentially buying your team the extra second they need to finish it and back off safely.
So long as your vision control is good, you may choose to duo sneak it with a suitable percent damage ADC while your team holds their attention in a lane. You must ensure neither of you are seen pathing to it and should only go for it if many people are bot side, especially their support. At higher ranks opportunities for this become few and far between, but keep it in mind if their vision lapses at a crucial moment.
If you went Riftmaker, you may even look to solo it, but this takes most of a minute to accomplish and needs to be done very carefully. Look to start it while your team has mid priority and tell them to rotate towards Baron when it is below half life to finish it. This will catch the enemy team completely off guard and won't give them any time to respond before Baron dies. Trying to solo it from full to dead is very risky and can go wrong quick unless your vision control of the area is immmaculate and you have a massive lead as a team.
NEVER 50/50 BARON unless you are massively behind and in a do or die moment. Whereas you will have your attention split between the enemy’s positioning and Baron’s health, the enemy jungler will be laser focused on the latter. Additionally, you will more often than not be tanking the thing, reducing your damage and making it much easier to outsmite you. I don’t care if their jungler is the only one alive (or someone like Lux who is capable of Smite-level burst) and your team is perfectly healthy. Spam danger pings, park the Baron at 3000 life, starve out their vision, force them to guess, kill them for free, and THEN finish the Baron. There is absolutely no sense in risking such a stupid way to throw the game. Ping like absolute crazy and keep your team on a short leash. Run out of the damn pit to show them how serious you are if you need to.
If you lose control over the area and the enemy team starts it, remember that you are one of the best champions in the game at contesting Baron. The enemy team is NOT ALLOWED to do it while you are alive with a full bar of fury. You have free access to the backline while their meatballs are tanking the worm. On top of that, the geography of the pit forces said backline to clump together to do damage. This is absolutely ideal for you. If they try, you stop them, even if you are a man or two down. One massive chunk onto that grouped backline should immediately force them to retreat if you are alone or make them concede it to your team entirely in a 5v5 setting. If they don’t respect you, keep shooting and kill them all.
If your team just got picked or lost a fight and you have to go it alone, approach from a direction that they are unlikely to have warded for best results. At higher ranks, they will have someone threatening running interference most of the time, usually a bruiser or tanky CC support, so it may be hard or impossible to find a good angle onto the soft targets. In those cases, or if you arrive too late to discourage through kill pressure, it may be worth orbiting around the area and finding an opportunity for a steal attempt. Dragon's Descent + Smite is almost impossible to outhit with as much AP as you have now. Begin your Dragon's Descent at 2000-2500 health depending on their DPS. If you're stuck trying to Flame Breath for the steal from range, fire at 1500-2000.
If the game gets to this point, it is likely already over. Your siege potential is absolutely absurd. A single hit on a soft target will make their inhibitor absolutely indefensible. Once they've been forced to back off, the AP scaling behind Twin Bite will practically one hit their structures.
If possible, wait patiently for long range CC to land then fire away on whoever was dumb enough to get caught. You can't miss a stunned target. If your team has no such ability, then you can just ult into range and look to chunk a carry or two. Look for and take advantage of clumps of enemies. It is common for people to huddle together while defending a siege if they aren't focused on something like Unstoppable Force. Punish this behavior. Take great care when doing this against hooks, long duration snares, and F--- You buttons like Nether Grasp. Your hitbox is massive while a dragon and you are very hard to miss.
DO NOT DIVE THE TURRET unless you have Zhonya's Hourglass and your team is far enough up that you can afford to be reckless. Very few champions can effectively waveclear from outside of your Flame Breath range. There is therefore no reason to close distance.
If you couldn't wipe their team on this push, after you've used your ult to poke down a few targets and gotten your free inhibitor, going to split once you drop out of form as discussed previously is a great use of your time since you want to avoid fighting if at all possible. Mop up any inner turrets remaining on your retreat to prepare their base for demolition on your team's next push.
End methodically. DO NOT THROW!
Once you start cracking inhibitors with Baron, the game is yours to lose. The most dangerous thing at this point is greed. It turns out that greed is not, in fact, always good. Greed can be wrong. Greed does not always work. G2 can attest to this! Make sure to retreat 5 seconds before dead champions start spawning to not get run down and killed by their homeguard movement speed. Don't lose the war of attrition to the fountain either and find yourselves poked to half life without cooldowns and no way out. Even a huge lead can be thrown away like this.
Play it smart. Get your ult back and then regroup to knock down another inhib. Then get the last one. 1-3-1 with Baron is a fantastic strategy with a lead that can take their entire base in one fell swoop as long as the enemy has no hard engage.
Once 2 or 3 inhibitors have been taken, Elder should be spawning soon, with the second Baron soon afterward. It is impossible to contest Elder and Baron with 2-3 inhibitors down. Even with an intact base, having one nearly guarantees getting the other. By contrast, if your team miraculously loses a fight while they're both up, suddenly it's YOU who are at death's door. Do not risk this and simply wait patiently, take them both off the map, then make your last death push. It takes talent to lose the game with both Baron and Elder. Ryoma managed it. Be better than Ryoma.
Ice and Fire: Tank
And that about covers it!
After entirely too long, I think I've run out of things to say. This ended up being way more involved than my mid lane guide, no surprise as jungle is the more tactical role. As much as I said, though, there really is no substitute for experience; it's by far the toughest to master and there are way too many potential scenarios for me to ever go over. However, these strategies and timings should be a great starting point. They've gotten me to the top of Diamond II so far, so I must be doing something right! A bit less tiltyness and fewer mistakes and I'll claw up to Master this season for sure.
Anyway, I hope this guide was helpful, and hope you take my teachings and charge up the ladder with them. Shyvana is incredibly strong right now, and she should serve you well in your climb!
Remember, kills don't matter, objectives DO.
Now get out there and absorb that Dragon Soul!