Shyvana Build Guide by Veralion
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+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. 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. 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.
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. 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. Hail of Blades trades well and gives him a run for his money early, but right now I don't think the results are reproducible enough to take it. 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 3 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 last season playing both jungle and mid (which, yes, works quite well, as described here). 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 and have my sights set on finishing Master+ for the season.
Shyvana is the strongest that she’s been in years, ever since the Teleport/ Smite top and Feral Flare metas of Season 4. That’s no exaggeration. This comes off the back of extremely favorable systems changes for season 10 as well as a very nice direct buff. Riot sped up the respawn timers of camps by 30 seconds while barely touching its gold income, drastically increasing how much gold you can get by powerfarming the jungle. Additionally, the new Dragon Soul win conditions are a godsend for Shyvana, as she is the single best champion in the game at securing drakes for her team.
She also got some power put onto her Flame Breath mark damage in 10.1, going from 3.25% max health capped to 100 on monsters to 3.75% with a cap of 150. Though it only marginally increased her damage to champions and does not allow her to duel the kings of the jungle, it had much more of an effect on her clear, especially on buffs, Drake, and Herald. The Queen of Speed is back!
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. Now is a fantastic time to 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 viable, my expertise is in AP and this guide will be entirely in that perspective. I believe AP to be superior in almost every situation as it gives your ganks a much wider success window early, scales much better over the course of the game, and can obliterate priority targets instantly before they can react and kite you to death. Bruiser with Conqueror still works extremely well into full AD comps with no percent damage (good luck ever killing a dragon with 4000 HP and 300 Armor without a Vayne), but in all other cases AP is all-around superior.
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, best champion in the game at stacking Dragons
+ 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
+ Dark horse effect (People disrespect lethal fireballs regularly)
+ Is a motherf***ing dragon. Rawr XD.
- Relatively weak levels 1-5, easily abused and zoned 1v1 by many meta junglers
- 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
- Poor ganker 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.
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 and proceed to make life very difficult for you if your team can't cover that weakness. If are 3 or more very tanky bois on the enemy team (for example Dr. Mundo top (who is your actual worst nightmare), Sejuani jungle, Alistar support), I’d advise against going AP and instead a more standard tanky on-hit build which would be more useful than going for the Rylai's Crystal Scepter + Liandry's Torment combo. Ryliandrys would function and give you a good amount of damage against bruisers and carries alike, but it takes a long time to get to a threatening point because the items synergize strongly together and thus your major power spike is incredibly delayed. They are also elsewise itemized terribly for AP Shyvana, having no attack speed or CDR.
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. Avoid highly mobile and stupid powerful early game duelists who love to level 3 invade like Nidalee, Lee Sin, and Rengar. 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.
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. The holy grail auto-win Lucian+ Braum lane, Draven and pretty much anyone, Jhin+ Vel'Koz, Leona+ Caitlyn, Zyra and pretty much anyone, etc. 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. This also makes taking drakes
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.
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. Early on it is indispensable for keeping your Hunter's Talisman burn on everything around you, keeping you healthy.
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. 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 will buffer based on the first location you cast at and will automatically fire there upon landing no matter what. A lot can happen between when you press R, when you land, and when your Flame Breath cast finishes. Don't do it.
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.
The explosion radius on empowered Flame Breath is significantly bigger than the skillshot indicator and resultant flame patch radius. The patch gets 20 units wider with each ult rank. The indicator most closely matches rank 2 flame patch; the rank 1 patch is smaller and the rank 3 larger. However, the explosion radius DOES NOT scale with level and remains constant. It's even larger than the rank 3 flame patch. This creates quite a large visual disparity between the apparent and actual range of the ability, especially at rank 1. I highly suggest smart casting Flame Breath for this reason and learning its true range intimately, since the indicator does not accurately portray it.
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. 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 now grant 10% extra fury generation per stack, so Shyvana isn't left out in the cold anymore. As your ult is so vital, this easily makes Cloud her best dragon to have. The wording seems to suggest that all fury gains are increased, so this should mean that you can extend dragon form for a few seconds longer in addition to building fury faster.
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 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. 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.
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.
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. No exceptions!
Some people take Exhaust or Ignite over Flash. Don't be one of these people. They typically play extremely aggressive AD focused builds with Press the Attack and look to invade/level 3 gank. This is not what we are going for. You're basically a scuffed Master Yi with this playstyle and might as well play him instead.
Ashes to Ashes: Dragonfire Scaling
Though it’s been overnerfed for most previous users (looking at you, Karthus), Dark Harvest is still your best bet 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 it since Dragon's Descent is your only way to proc 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 it triggers on damage applied, not on ult cast. I'm not sure when the proc trigger expires, if it ever does.
If you are worried about being invaded or think early skirmishes are likely, you may take Taste of Blood. The extra little bit of health might save you, and with dying being more punishing in Season 10 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. We don't like to take sweeper 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.
This rune gives you a significant amount of sustain with how much damage you do to large monsters. Staying healthy during your first clear is critical to contest crab and safely gank lanes. Popping the Rift Herald's eye does count as damage done and will heal you for several percent of 900-1700 based on game time, which is quite a chunk. 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.
There are two popular options here. I much prefer the former, but both are defensible choices.
CDR is vital to making the build work since your only source of real damage is your Flame Breath, which is where Transcendence comes in. This, Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes, and Nashor's Tooth components will get you to 40% nice and early. Zhonya's Hourglass is frequently necessary, so being able to convert that extra 10% to 20 AP is thus very nice, especially if the game goes late enough for you to consider Luden's Echo. It also makes blue buff worth 20 AP, which would otherwise be completely useless.
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 67 AP from this rune at 30 minutes. That's a free Needlessly Large Rod. If it goes to 40, you'll get 112 and will probably start one hitting people.
Again, CDR is incredibly important, so 5% from level 1 is not too shabby. The real benefit is that you can overcap to 45%, reducing your Flame Breath cooldown from 4.8 seconds to 4.4. Doesn't sound like a whole lot, but those extra 4 tenths of a second can make all the difference in getting your Flame Breath to a target before CC expires and they Flash away, especially in an extended fight that lets you cycle the cooldown 3-4 times. The downside is that you'll need to get your last 10% CDR from Lich Bane or Zhonya's Hourglass before going for any other item (or at the very least sit on a Fiendish Codex or Sheen), limiting your build flexibility.
Most people pair Cosmic Insight with free boots. This lets you put that 300G towards Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes instead, getting it a bit faster. The thing is, since you're a farming jungler, you probably won't be getting many takedowns to speed up their acquisition, and 9-10 minutes is a long time to be stuck at 350 MS. Still, the 10 extra you get once you have them is nice, more or less equal to Celerity.
Starting item: Talisman
Hunter's Talisman is the superior starting item. Burnout and Flame Breath are both AoE abilities, allowing you to keep its leech passive ticking on entire camps constantly, equating to a ton of health. I believe it is a marginally slower full clear than Hunter's Machete, but MUCH healthier. Machete is great for buff-gromp-buff pathing into a level 3 invade with an aggressive keystone, but that's outside the scope of this guide and you may as well play Master Yi if that's what you're going for.
This item is an efficient and ridiculously powerful powerspike. Aside from offering 80 cheap AP and 10% CDR on its own, the proc adds 60+10% AP to your Flame Breath and is the fastest way to make long-range kill securing chunks possible.
Chilling Smite is definitely your go-to over Challenging Smite for a number of reasons. First, it procs Dark Harvest. Point and click popping someone on low life lets your use your Flame Breath on a much healthier target, getting a lot more value from your big ability. Second, since your Flame Breath hits for an absurd amount, anything that makes it harder to dodge is extremely attractive. It also makes a quite sizable MS differential between you and you target, letting you retreat while Flame Breath cools down or stay in range to keep proccing your mark.
Challenging Smite is a defensible choice against some champions who can ignore CC or reliably yeet on top of you ( Master Yi, Camille, Olaf, etc.). The damage reduction component is extremely valuable if you must stand your ground and fight. However, I personally prefer to always take Chilling Smite to take advantage of the above benefits and attempt to never give these champions an easy window to kill me through safe positioning.
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.
If popping off: Dark Seal
If at this point you and your team are kicking *** and taking names, grab yourself one of these. It's a small price to pay for potentially 45 AP once fully stacked, and lets you get a head start on a Mejai's Soulstealer if things keep going well. If they go south, it's easy enough to sell the thing and you don't lose much, so it's well worth a shot.
Fury generation, objective pressure, and CDR: Nashor's Tooth
Nashor's Tooth is a necessity on AP Shyvana. This item has everything that you want out of life. 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 much faster. The chunk of CDR is necessary for any extended fights, and the on-hit proc synergizes with your Twin Bite, letting you defend yourself outside of dragon form with some light sustained damage. 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.
I suggest you build Stinger first. Clear speed is extremely important, more so than an extra 35 damage would be on your nukes. If you find yourself backing with somewhere between 900 and 1070 gold, I wouldn't think any less of you for buying the Fiendish Codex. CDR is almost as important.
Double Penetration OwO: Oblivion Orb
As explained above, flat penetration is just mathematically the best and most efficient choice for raw damage against soft targets and until Riot decides to fix it, we have to abuse it. Now that Vayne has only 7 MR. She's only mitigating 6.5% of incoming damage. Our Flame Breath now hits for 542. Together with Sorc shoes, the flat pen on this item alone is worth 80 ABILITY POWER. You are paying a 765 gold combine cost for 1600 gold worth of effective AP. It's literally over half off. Buy one get one free. And that's just to start; again, you get more and more value out of it as you build more and more AP. With a full build at 800 AP for example, the flat pen you get from sitting on Oblivion Orb is equivalent to 165 AP. They went through an entire AP item rework and didn’t touch this lunacy, so I’d say it’s here to stay for a while. And as predicted, they didn’t fix the problem and just made it 100 gold more expensive, which changes absolutely nothing. They really have their heads in the sand sometimes…
You will be building these four or five items, usually in this order, in every game. After you have your Nashor's Tooth and pen, it’s time to begin specializing for the situation.
Consider these first
VS heavy healing: Morellonomicon
You may have to finish Morellonomicon immediately vs red Kayn, Soraka, Vladimir, etc. Pick it up later for other enchanter supports like Sona and Nami once the game progresses enough for them to pick up some throughput. Your AD carry really should be buying an Executioner's Calling in these situations, but if they're dumb and refuse to (as is so depressingly often the case), you need to provide this for your team or heal spamming enemies simply will never die. If you don’t need healing reduction, sit on the orb and upgrade it dead last. You’ll hurt for inventory space, but it’s so worth it.
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. You just lose a few hundred gold for a potential payoff of 90+ AP. 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. If things start heading south and you lose the stacks, sell it to grab your next big item. It’s not a big deal.
For Inflection Points
For safety and Dragon's Descent - Flame Breath plays: Stopwatch
Stopwatch is the single best item in the game. There’s a reason why you’re seeing any pro worth his salt buy one for critical moments, turning the next teamfight into League of Hourglass. Being able to Dragon's Descent + Flame Breath onto the backline and not be killed instantly opens up so many opportunities to instagib carries and make game-winning plays. You will also be a priority target in fights once people realize that they’re being chunked for half or more of their life, and a few seconds of stasis can buy your team the time they need to punish any greedy pick attempts. Even more so if you're stacking and have a huge bounty; staying alive is paramount in that case. It will also stall for half of your Flame Breath cooldown, and usually will let you get another shot off that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to while under pressure, which can be a game changer. If you’re behind and really need the stasis for that fed burst mage or assassin ( Zed especially), you may be forced to build it before your priority damage items. Don’t be too proud to make smart decisions. Once you've used the watch, look to upgrade it right away to Zhonya's Hourglass unless you are truly under no threat in fights, especially if you started Seeker's Armguard.
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.
Situational items: build as necessary
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. Sell Oblivion Orb to get it and free up the slot if you notice this too late right before a big fight (unless you also need healing reduction). The flat pen won’t do nearly as much as 40% against even a single MR item. You're losing 600 gold to do this though, so don't be lazy hitting tab and find yourself in this bad position. It's rare, but sometimes you have to build Void Staff right after Nashor's Tooth if your comp is high in magic damage and the entire enemy team gets fast MR.
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.
For tanks/bruisers: Lich Bane
Go Lich Bane if there are many melee champions on the other team that will allow you to reliably proc it multiple times in a fight. You’ll need it to do a damn thing to bruisers and it will give you a lot of very reliable chunking power against melee assassins and fragile carries. It also is the correct choice in extremely fast paced scrappy games that may not always give you the chance to charge up Dragon's Descent before fighting, as it will let you contribute much more to fights while dragon form is not available. Facing anti-projectile champions ( Yasuo, Braum, Xin Zhao, Sivir etc.) also favors this route. Lastly, it's the best anti-structure item in the game, though you'll do that fine no matter what you build. If you're looking to splitpush (not my playstyle), go Lich Bane for sure.
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 Echo 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.).
Runic Echoes upgrade: Luden's
You can make a strong argument for selling Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes for Luden's Echo as your final upgrade. You lose Chilling Smite in exchange for 40 AP (20 from Transcendence) and an extra 40 base damage on the proc. If there's no threatening diver that you need to be slowing or if you don't think you can safely get within Smite distance of that hyper fed carry, go for it. I don't remember the last time I had a game go this late, though. You should be keeping an IV drip of Elixir of Sorcery running at all times once out of item slots, so a game would have to go to 50-60 minutes for this to become a real option.
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 Hunter's Machete. 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 for Hunter's Machete 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.
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 at 1:10. 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. You want to start bot side and clear up if possible. Not only do you get a strong leash from your AD and support, but it’s also more efficient since you will be heading towards drake right after your first back, and those camps will have respawned.
If your counterpart likes to level 3 invade ( Lee Sin, Elise, Rengar, Olaf, Rek'Sai, Nidalee, etc.), start 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.
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. Wait to activate your second Burnout until all the medium krugs are at 2/3 life. This way, the last tick of Burnout will hit the small ones while you run to your chickens, applying your lethal talisman burn, saving you several seconds and healing you for a good bit that you’d miss out on otherwise.
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.
There is a very cool trick you can do if clearing red side second. Aggro the chicken coop, Burnout towards the red, get behind it, then hit everything with your Flame Breath. Hunter's Talisman will leech the whole camp, re-aggro it, and Burnout will hit them again as they come back, creating a cycle of free health. This lets your first gank be less risky and puts you in a much better position to contest your first crab.
It is possible to clear your entire jungle by 3:15 and be level 4 for the first scuttle crab if you start your clear with red buff (can’t be done by starting blue since Krugs are a mile away from the crab). However, this may leave you too low health to contest it even with your level lead, and you won’t have a Smite for it so it may easily be stolen away. If you made great time, go for it, but it's not necessary.
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 in season 10 without catchup XP is ridiculously punishing. Do not attempt to steal the crab without priority unless the enemy jungler has absolutely no CC.
First gank window
Once the crab is dead, it should be around 3:30. This gives you about 50 seconds of free time before you must back to be on time for drake at 5:00. This is your first gank window. More often than not, top lane 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 a ward behind for my top laner while I’m here. They 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. As a general rule, take enemy farm whenever possible and leave a small dog, chicken, or krug 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. You 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.
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 4:20. You have somewhere very important to be. Buy Stalker's Blade, Boots of Speed if possible, and at least one Control Ward. If you picked up an early kill or two and are loaded, grab a Dagger too.
Taking first drake
Shyvana is the absolute best champion in the game at securing drakes for her team. In season 10 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. 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. Just do a camp or two first, arrive at the cone at 5:15 and wait, 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 4, 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 4 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 5:15 and 5:30 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 full clear again. This will put you topside and level 6 at around 6:30 if everything went well and you were left alone, shortly before Rift herald spawns. 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 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, Sion, Ornn, and Maokai. Of course, if the enemy top laner is someone nearly impossible to kill like Garen, 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.
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, Ravenous Hunter works on the eye damage, so you’ll lose absolutely no life 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, equalling 880G. 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 Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes, take advantage of the empowered recall from Rift and do so no later than 20 seconds before drake spawns. You should always easily 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, your Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes behind a 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.
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 your jungle item and a good chunk of AP, 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 Nashor's Tooth by now, or at the very least both components, 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.
With max CDR, Flame Breath is on a 4.8 second cooldown, just enough time for 4 shots without autoing mid-fight (which is why 40% is mandatory), so you need to make them count. 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 have Oblivion Orb in a good game, 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 40% CDR from Nashor's Tooth and Oblivion Orb 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.
NEVER 50/50 BARON unless you are 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. 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.
8/2/6 vs Kha'Zix, Diamond II, ft. StevensJax - YouTube edit
14/5/18 vs Zac, Diamond III
16/1/11 vs Mundo, Diamond III (full length vod of the vid at the start of this guide)
19/8/20 vs Evelynn, Diamond III
6/4/12 vs Nunu, Diamond IV, 4v5 win
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!