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Shen Build Guide by DdukBoggi

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League of Legends Build Guide Author DdukBoggi

[Guide]- Shen: The Ultimate Tank

DdukBoggi Last updated on June 29, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 0

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 9

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Shen is one of my favourite champions in League of Legends. He is one of the three ninjas, and while Kennen is more of an AoE AP carry and Akali is a melee DPS, Shen acts as a tank. He is very versatile and fun to play, and very effective if you use his skills and abilities properly. My build focuses on playing shen as a pure tank, focusing on health and armor rather than damage output. This is my first guide so please excuse any errors or mistakes. It is a bit long, so i apolgize (i tried to make it as detailed while keeping concise as possible). Feel free to give feedback as it will greatly help improve my guide, and also please try out this guide before voting. Thanks! :D

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Greater Seal of Vitality

For runes, I go with Magic penetration marks, Hp per lvl seals, Magic Resist per lvl glyphs and Flat health quintessences. Shen's damage is magic damage, so I put in mpen marks. Because health is a crucial part of being a tank, I input health in seals and quints. And hey, who doesn't like a little magic resist?

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For masteries, I use a 0/21/9 mastery and try to go with a standard tank playing style. I focus mainly on defense: Resistance 2/3, Hardiness 3/3, Evasion 4/4, Nimbleness 1/1, Veteran's Scars 4/4, Ardor 3/3 and Tenacity 1/1.

On the Utility side, I put 1/1 in Haste and 1/1 in Spatial Accuracy for improved Ghost and Teleport spells respectively. Then I go 3/3 in Perseverance and finish off with 4/4 in Awareness.

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Items are crucial for shen, but being a versatile champion he can benefit greatly from almost any build you choose to build him with. I personally prefer going full tank which means I focus on a ****load of health and armor. Depending on the game, you might have to sacrifice health for armor and vice versa. However I do stress armor over health as even at 2300 health at level 18, with around 400~500 armor Shen will be very difficult to kill (unless they have a high number of magic champs). So you have to analyze the situation and work with it.

Standard build:

- With the above masteries and runes, you get 768 HP with Doran's shield at lvl 1. This gives you a ton of survivability and also enables for easy first blood kills if played well with your laning partner. Generally this item will give you the early game survivability you need, and with teleport you can stay in your lane practically forever and you're guarateed continued farming.

- increased speed, then upgrade to Mercury Treads

- this is partly situational, but i prefer to get it ASAP as it grants nearby allies some nice armour+magic resist. it's good early~midgame and in teamfights. (Crucial item for most tanks)

- The bread/butter item for Shen. It grants a nice mix of HP and armour, and also has a neat active that has great synergy with your + . Simply in, cast your and press . then watch as the rest of your team melts them down. It's also good in situations where you're chasing someone, taunt+Randuins or when you need to escape + . A lot of people forget to press this. Make it HABITUAL. It'll make a huge difference. :D

- With a lot of armour at this point, you're pretty much hard to kill. Sunfire Cape in team fights is very helpful, and if you're in the middle of the teamfight getting focused, then it's gg for the other team.

Situational Items:

From here, you should be close to winning the game. But if you feel that you still need some extra support, or are just looking for something to spend your gold on, here's what you can go for:

- What can I say? The more they attack you, the more they get screwed. Makes tanking as easy as pie. Provided that you have backup from your team, you will almost never die. At this point your build is pretty much complete.

- crucial against a heavy AP-nuke-carry team (Lux, Leblanc, Annie, Katarina, etc). Currently the best magic resist item in the game, and also grants some nice health regen.

- is also a nice choice if you think you need more damage output as well as armour.

I don't really have a thing for Guardian's Angel as it seems that right after you die, you live for about 5 seconds only to get killed again. I don't know. For me personally it seems useless and didn't serve me well, but if you're fine with it then feel free to go ahead.

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Skill Sequence+Order

With Shen there's something I call the "Rule of 50%". What this means is that you always want to have at least 50% of your energy bar at all times so that you can use your . I've seen many people that either get denied kills because they're out of energy to get that or place their on the enemy, or either save their allies because again, was out of energy.

With Shen, you need somewhat fast spamming abilities, a calm head and the ability to focus fire. if you're trying to pick up a kill with an ally, simply in, cast your and spam your autoattack (pressing for shield while needed). The same is for team fights. in Teamfights, however, make sure that after you and use your , press your right away to minimize damage so that you can survive if you're getting focused or cc'ed. the energy cost works differently if the ult gets invovled: in this case, saving your ally is your first priority (about 95% of the time is why you would use the ult for), so just ult in and , then cast your .

is a crucial farming/harass tool and also a good skill for self-healing. After level 4 it can get quite annoying for the other team. I make it my first priority.

Then, I maximize . A lot of people discount this skill and lvl up first, but is actually really important. It can absorb quite a bit of damage and can mean the difference of life and death. One time I used it to block Karthus' ult (i actually lived with 58 hp). Without it i wouldve died.

The reason why I don't max until later is because in team fights, you only get to use it once anyway (Due to the energy cost). After that you'd generally spam Q and your shield. Therefore, it is unnecessary to lvl up before

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Summoner Spells

Personally, I prefer taking ghost and teleport.
Ghost is obviously a good skill when chasing down enemy champions, rushing into battle to help allies, or escaping.

Teleport is really interesting. If you can use it right, it is very effective and deadly. A lot of people may think, why use teleport if shen's ult is already a teleport? I'll tell you why.

Suppose an enemy champion is trying to gank one of your allies. You don't have your ultimate ready, so you can teleport to a nearby minion, taunt and try to save them. It is also very helpful if your ally is getting tower dived with low health. Think of it like a second ultimate just without the shielding effect. Shen with two teleports? I think OP.

Other than that, it also has many standard uses such as defending a threatened turret (obviously), rushing an undefended enemy turret (teleport to minion wave), escaping to a friendly turret when getting ganked (provided you do not get taunted or stunned), etc. There are multiple uses for this, you just have to learn when to use it and how. One thing to point out is that Shen's ult and teleport skill can usually be in very close cooldowns of each other, which will be helpful. Also knowing when to use and not use teleport is crucial (sometimes, the more you use it will be betters, others not).

Other summoner spells worth noting:


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In the early laning phase, harass minions by spamming . Depending on the situation, you might prefer last-hitting minions with your (although shen being a ninja, and due to the ability of it might be better to just fight constantly.) is a great farming tool and because of its short cooldown, is quite spammable. A good milestone is about 20 minion kills in the first 5 minutes. Shen can also jungle quite well even without smite, just make sure you spam to keep yourself healing while casting to absorb damage from time to time. When doing baron, it is also important that you taunt a couple times to concentrate damage to yourself (although you should be doing that anyway)

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Team Work

Shen works especially well in a big team. He is a team player, and that is where his tank skills shine. As shen, you have to be constantly on the watch for opportunities to use your ultimate. Therefore, it is crucial that you keep a wary eye on the minimap at ALL times, even as you are laning (this takes some practice). Using F1~F5 keys can quickly shift camera focus between your ally champions and is greatly beneficial.

Shen's best skill as a team player is his ultimate. Therefore, it is important that you let your team know that it is ready, so that they can form plans such as luring, baiting because they know you have their back.

Communication is also key and make sure that you let everyone know what you are doing. Calling Mia and pinging (not like a madman, once or twice is fine) can also be great strategies for avoiding getting ganked, arranging ganks, defending or pushing towers. (these are somewhat basic strategies so i won't go too much into it.)

You are a tank, which means you have to learn to sacrifice yourself for the team. Bailing out first and leaving everyone behind to die is not what you're meant for. Utilize most of your team's abilities and skills, and adapt to it to ensure a victory.

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Unique Skills

Shen has two "unique" skills (if used correctly they can be very helpful)

First we have his . Aside from the main objective of this skill (AoE taunt), it is also a very effective movement ability and can be used while juking or going through terrain.

In case you didn't know, smart-casting is a viable technique to have at hand.
What is smart-cast? It means that you do not have to click to activate a skill. For example, to use shadow dash (E) you have to press E, then click to dash. With smart-cast, you eliminate this step. All you do is hold shift while pressing E (Shift+E) to activate it. Shen will automatically dash to your cursor location. It maybe saves 0.05 seconds but hey, that could mean a huge difference.

Important note: For me personally, I change my key bindings so that my smart-cast is placed on to the "T" key ("t" for taunt :D) on my keyboard. this is right next to the "R" key for the ultimate and it allows you to smart cast more easily without having to hold ALT and E.

Next is shen's ult . Here are some notable uses:

Shielding/saving ally champion (obviously)
Teleporting to ally champion to push turrets
Teleporting to ally champion to escape being ganked (best work if you juke into brush and cast. F1~F5 keys can quickly enable you to click someone.)

*Important: as the tank your main priority is to save your allies. However, there are times when you have to decide who gets to live and who doesn't. In that case, you should most likely with your team's carry, but that may not be the case all the time. Use according to your best judgment.

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Pros / Cons

Shen is a very versatile champion.
- fast cooldowns
- no mana
- taunt ability + move through terrain
- ultimate is a teleport
- good defense and armour
- good movement speed.

- cooldown of ult can be quite long and not available at the most required time
- ult can get cancelled if the selected ally champion dies
- no mana is good, but you need to learn how to balance energy use
- damage output is not as high as other melee champs.

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* your main job is a tank. Always be on the ready, keep a good watch and learn to die for your teammates. If you can die to save another ally champion, you have done your job. (If people call you feed becaause of this simply ignore them. You're a tank and not some DPS carry, so it's okay.)
* Early farming phase, spam your Q and aim for last hits (although fighting constantly might be better in some situations)
* If you have teleport as a summoner skill, learn when and how to use it effectively (it can also work like a second ult)
* For items, focus on health and armor. (Magic resist depending on situation)
* is very important and it's what makes you a tank (aside from ). Learning how to cast it right is crucial. Also predicting the opponent's movements and casting taunt ahead of them so that they walk INTO your taunt is a good skill to learn. Also taunting multiple enemies in a single line is critical too.
* always let your teammates know that your ultimate is available.
* play safe, call mia and demonstrate a positive attitude (At all times! :)