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Shen Build Guide by Jynsin

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Jynsin

Competitive/In-Depth Shen Top 5.24 Eye Of The Twilight

Jynsin Last updated on December 15, 2015
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Ability Sequence

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

Not Updated For Current Season

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


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 12

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 0

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 18

Threats to Shen with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Jax Jax takes Q poke like a baby rabbit. Q poke him down and destroy him.
Malphite Ever hit a brick wall with another brick wall? This is a farm lane.
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I added the new items and a video. AD Shen could see a ton more play considering the new AD/HP items. Also added a laning section. -Aug. 20, 2015
Shen hit a nerf :( Vorpal Blade mark sustain has been about halved. Be careful against heavy poke! -Sep. 2, 2015
Mundo got a nice buff that makes him do very well against Shen. Updated his counter-play section and changed the core items. (Subbed Randuin's Omen for Dead Man's Plate) -Nov. 2, 2015
Trinity Force no longer gives AP :( but it does give cdr which tank items generally lack without buying mana also. Deadman's Plate hit an admittedly much needed nerf. Finally. Think twice! Added Icebourne Gauntlet to not recommended list and added Sterak's Gage to potential AD damage. Removed zephyr from the guide. RIP Zephyr. Added new Poppy and Vayne to VS. Champions section. Dec. 15, 2015

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Hey guys. My summoner name is Jynsin, I stream sometimes on and will be posting videos on my Youtube channel, Sinjin Chun and this in-depth guide is designed for anyone Bronze to Diamond looking to climb the ladder with the teleporting ninja, Shen, Eye of the Twilight. He's a flippin ninja with amazing map control potential, team fighting presence and an all around fun and efficient top laner. Beware of queing with Kennen and Akali, however, supposedly their secret passive will decrease all of their base health by 1 when in a game together. Ninjas work better alone. (but Shen actually really needs his team)

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Pros / Cons

-Shen has a couple dope swords and looks like Sub zero
(Sub Zero)
-You have the best map presence in the game (arguably)
-Laning and team fighting phases are exceptional and dueling is surprisingly powerful
-Heavy poke for almost no cost
-Tank for days
-Ultimate is the biggest shield you may ever see
-Can teleport across the map by pushing R
-Can taunt an entire team and not get blown up (so much better than Rammus)
-Does excessive amounts of magic damage with the right items
-Can also support and jungle

-He can be kited easily when taunt is down
-Gets outscaled by hyper carries
-Is team reliant for damage
-Can carry, but it's pretty hard
-Losing lane prevents a lot of play making

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Runes are adaptable. Your standard page:


Greater Seal of Scaling Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Mark of Precision

Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed

Against heavy AD:

Greater Seal of Scaling Armor

Greater Mark of Precision

Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Against Heavy AP:

Greater Mark of Precision

Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Health per level seals may be preferred over armor per level in your standard page, or ability power over magic resist. Shen has a decent or exceptional AP Ratio on every one of his abilities so AP runes are especially beneficial, but magic resist may be necessary against the enemies AP carry. Attack Speed quints recharge your passive and allow for dueling. Hybrid penetration is useful for armor pen with attack speed and dueling with taunt while magic pen for Sunfire, Thornmail, Vorpal Blade, Wits End, and Taunt.

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See Above!

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Doran's Shield is wonderful in most situations. Cloth Armor and 5 health pots is nice against heavy heavy heavy poke like a Pantheon with a crystalline or a Gnar. Boots of Speed is a possible start to look for safe play and roaming, or to avoid skillshots, but Doran's Shield is much more efficient in lane.

Armor Options:
Sunfire Cape Sunfire was made for Shen. He forces enemies to stay within melee range and take 40 magic damage per second, gains Ki strike damage from the bonus health and prevents them from hurting him much after taunts with the armor. Sunfire is a must for split pushing and wave clearing and even dueling. I would almost always recommend Sunfire as Top Shen.

Randuin's Omen is a great item. It has a nice chunk of health and armor, a slow active, and an attack speed slow passive on hit, meaning if you land taunt you automatically reduce an attackers attack speed. I would get this item against a heavy AD team or fed AD champions to help peel for your carries and add survivability.

Thornmail Great against most ADC's and for dueling, but slightly countered by the current Devourer meta.

Deadman's Plate This item is pretty powerful on Shen right now. If you need the extra armor it stacks incredibly well with Trinity Force for burst damage and has more health than Randuin's Omen

Magic Resist Options:
Spirit Visage A great item on Shen, mostly because of the passive and CDR. 10% cooldown will help massively with map presence on ultimate, dueling, and peeling in team fights, while the passive increases sustain with Vorpal Blade.

Banshee's Veil Useful against champions like Kennen or Ekko that require chaining and stacks, or champions like Veigar or Annie thats whole kit relies on them landing stun.

Wit's End The icing on the cake with Sunfire Cape and Thornmail. Attack Speed for more Ki strike proccs, On hit magic damage, and you steal magic resist to increase the damage of everything but your physical auto attacks. Not to mention increasing your APC's damage.

Abyssal Mask I rarely ever get this item. It is most utilized against heavy AP with a heavy AP team. Or on gimmick AP Shen.

Trinity Force Trinity Force is almost a perfect damage item for Shen. The Mana is wasted. Otherwise this item maximizes his kit, makes him more bursty with spellblade on Sheen, and prevents kiting with rage on Phage and the movement from Zeal. Unfortunately, often you will need to build tank instead of damage to be a sponge for your team.

Blade of the Ruined King If you're super fed, aren't taking much damage, and you feel that your team needs the extra damage output, Bork is great for anti-kiting and dealing fat loads of damage.

Frozen Mallet While the extra damage and health are great, this is more of a CC choice. This item is good for catching the enemies carries and preventing escape, or even peeling for your teammates. Taunt and right click to watch the magic happen.

Titanic Hydra This item is for if you're fed and stacks well with Deadman's Plate and it seems Sterak's Gage. AD Shen could see a whole lot more play in the near future.

The Black Cleaver Black cleaver is only good in the situation that your team has heavy heavy AD, the enemy is stacking armor and you plan on building Titanic Hydra. Otherwise Trinity Force provides much more burst, dps, and utility. Never build both The Black Cleaver and Trinity Force! It is redundant. (Thanks to Frambola for bringing this to my attention)

Sterak's Gage A good item if you're going for an AD Titanic Hydra build. If not forget it. Works wonderfully with Moonflair Spellblade considering it scales off base AD.

Guardian Angel This item is when you end up as the carry (dealing a lot of damage and being the main assassin on your team), and everyone focuses you. You might be surprised how easy it is to jump into 5 people and kill the enemy ADC when you have 15+ kills.

Warmog's Armor If you have decent resistances and armor and the enemy team has evenly keeled damages or simply isn't hurting all that much warmog's will make you extremely difficult to kill. It's also useful against pesky champions like Darius and Master Yi that do a lot of true damage (if you already have Randuin's and/or thornmail).

Items Not To Get:
Nashor's Tooth This item has AP, attack speed, Cooldown Reduction AND on hit magic damage?! Well it's a bad idea. It's so frickin expensive, the build path is still whack, and it provides absolutely zero tanking or sustain minus a slight boost in Vorpal Blades.

Berserker Greaves You may be tempted to buy these shoes for the lols and maybe the Ki strike. Well don't, you will always have a great use for one of the two defensive boot choices. Always

Zhonya's Hourglass You never want to be immune. It takes you out of the fight and prevents you from tanking as a tank

Rylai's Crystal Scepter It is almost useful enough to get. I would buy it on AP Shen. However, the slow will only procc on Vorpal Blade and taunt, but will only matter on Vorpal blade and that just isn't worth it.

Statikk Shiv Again, not an adc. This item has one purpose, damage. (and maybe kiting with the movement)

Rapid Firecannon Just..why...

Phantom Dancer At this point I think it goes without saying.

Icebourne Gauntlet It's not horrible. It really isn't. Its just not good enough on Shen considering you pay for sooooo much mana and that's a good portion of its value.

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Skill Sequence

Ultimate is always priority on every champion.
Max Vorpal Blade first for massive damages and poke AND sustain.
Max Taunt second for escape, chase, intiate, damage even, and lols.
Max shield last. Its a great ability, but just not as useful as the other 2 in most lane situations. If you're losing horribly, and I mean horribly against heavy poke max shield before taunt.

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Flash is my favorite. Flash taunting enemies is beyond golden in laning and team fights, especially after using your ultimate.
Teleport Most Shen players should also take teleport for maximum map control. You can be top, then bot, then mid and win fights in all three lanes in under 20 seconds.
Ignite Honestly, I usually take ignite. It gives Shen a ton of kill potential and unexpected dueling damage. My playstyle is very agressive, however, and most Shen's focus on farming into late game and utilizing Ultimate and teleport for objectives and ganking/counterganking.
Exhaust is beyond situational. Take it if you really have no confidence in winning lane or making plays and think you'll just end up being a peel machine.

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Farming is your main source of sustain. Feel free to chuck as many swords as you want at low health minions and restore health. Also, don't be afraid to blow Ki Strike on a last hit, just don't do it during a tense pre duel situation unless you can denitiate. Sustain should be done by Vorpal blading a full health minion and auto attacking it once, then waiting until a little before you stop regenerating loads of health and hitting that minion again. Shen has ridiculous and subtle sustain through this method. It may push lane, however, so don't blow taunt willy nilly beyond the halfway point and keep river warded.

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I put farming above laning because farming is SO important. Those were the basics how to farm, now I'll go over laning and the importance of farm while laning. Vorpal Blade is such an effective poke because 1. It uses energy so you can never be literally oom (but you can run out of energy briefly) and 2. Hitting an enemy champion with a spell does not aggro minions. It also has massive base damages. So you may think Vorpal Blade every single opportunity. Well not necessarily. Never give up creep score for poke. I have a bad habit of this because I am extremely aggressive most of the time and like to go for kills. It is a mistake. If minions are worth 20 gold each, 10 minions is 200 gold. 20 minions is 400. 40 minions is 800 gold not including siege. Late game minions are worth even more! Early game they're indeed worth less, but most of the game they will be worth around 20. Siege are around 40. 1 Kill is about 300 gold. If you sacrifice farm time and time again to poke, those numbers add up and you're hurting yourself. Don't be afraid to Vorpal Blade for a creep. It heals you! And it doesn't cost anything that won't be back in a few seconds. While Vorpal Blade is effective poke, depending on the champion Shadow Dash Vorpal Blade and Ki Strike while using Feint to out trade and denitiate is tremendous poke in most situations. Be careful early game, however, diving behind the enemy minions will make you take unnecessary loads of damage after you Ki Strike and aggro them. While laning always watch the map. For an ult, for a gank, for a teleport, watch your wards, warn your allies. You never know what they see and don't see, so it's up to you to show them. Buying wards is also a key part of laning phase that almost all low ELO players do not do. Pink wards can last for an entire 30 minute game for only 100 gold. They have the potential to be the single most useful item in Summoner's Rift. Buy one and it will usually die, but it will often be well worth it. Plus it reveals whatever wards are nearby. And Mushrooms. And Jack In The Box. And Stealthed characters.

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Team Work

Shen is the empitome of teamwork. A great ult could literally win a game, but it's super easy to ult ineffectively. Lets go by ability.
Vorpal Blade In team fights, you will often taunt the enemy carries, vorpal blade them, and right click till your mouse breaks. And pop shield to deflect large bursts. If there's no chance of you killing a carry, vorpal blade whoever your adc or other auto attack reliant teammate is focusing and help burst them down while sustaining your ally. It just might save their life.
Feint Your shield is great for replenishing Ki Strike but usually it'll just get beaten down as soon as it's popped. It's still great for soaking damage after taunting, though.
Shadow Dash can be even more useful than your ultimate in some situations. Try to land it on as many enemy champions as you can, but prioritize APC's and ADC's. You get a refund of 40 energy per champion hit, so if you think you will hit more than 2 shield first. Flash taunting in team fights for the squishies will, with the right positioning and focus, blow them up instantly. Make sure to communicate which target to focus with your team and ping during fights.
Stand United If you teleport onto a champion they will become much more difficult to kill. At level 16 your shield has 850 base, and a 1.5 AP ratio. Ulting too late, however, will prevent you from even entering the fight if your ally dies. Ulting too early will just scare off the enemy team. ALWAYS ping before you ultimate. ALWAYS. If you don't your teammate may attempt to run away from an easy fight and completely waste your ultimate and any summoners or abilities they may have used to aid their escape. Communication is key on Shen. More key than Ki Strike

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A Shen Game In Diamond (Video)

I did alright this game. A really solid map control example at the end and laning phase is low scoring because me and Maokai are, of course, both tanks.

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This is my first Mobafire Guide, my summoner name is Jynsin, I've been playing league since 2010 and I've been off and on with Shen. Right now he is my main ranked pick. He is also a great support and a decent jungler, and I may add sections on that in the future. He's super fun and I hope this guide helped all of its viewers in one way or another. If you have any suggestions, something I missed, or any errors feel free to comment. I appreciate any help from the community.