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Shen Build Guide by Fact Smash

How to Slap People Silly with Shen

How to Slap People Silly with Shen

Updated on October 19, 2018
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Fact Smash Build Guide By Fact Smash 5,468 Views 0 Comments
5,468 Views 0 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Fact Smash Shen Build Guide By Fact Smash Updated on October 19, 2018
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Shen
    Top Shen
  • LoL Champion: Shen
    Support Shen
  • LoL Champion: Shen
    Lightning Shen


Grasp of the Undying
Bone Plating

Sudden Impact
Ultimate Hunter


LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None


Hi, my name is Fact Smash. I am (or at least was) a Hollow Knight streamer who plays a lot of League in my spare time. I picked up Shen about halfway through season 8 and have been maining him since. He is extremely fun since you can make some amazing roam plays with your ult and can shut down a lot of champs with your w. Shen is naturally very strong pre-6, but he falls of in lane once 6 hits since your ult is useless to you in lane while other champs get a large laning power spike. This guide is developed around what I have personally learned by playing Shen, and is in no way restrictive or concrete. It is encouraged to do some experimentation on your own through different builds and playstyles to find what works best for you. (Shout out to my friend Bombabo who made an amazing Urgot guide that I modeled my Shen guide after)
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Pros and Cons

-Great trade potential pre-6
-Amazing split pusher once you have titanic hydra
-Everyone who isn't a top main underestimates your damage until you solo kill their bot lane and supp
-Can make amazing plays with his ult
-Can be in 2 places at once late game since you can split and still be present for team fights by use of your ult
-His taunt is omae wa mou shin de ru in whatever language you have your game set to

-Loses most lanes after 6 due to his ult being a roaming feature
-High skill ceiling on his ult
-Somewhat difficult to pick up as his play-style is based not around his own positioning, but on the positioning of his sword
-Long cooldowns on his e and w early so you have to work hard to space out trades
-Low mobility if his e isn't used in the best ways possible
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What does Shen do

Shen is a very strange character since you have to track 2 parts of him: his character and his blade. He is a great pick for helping a hyper carry or ADC since his ult can save their life and even get you or them some kills. He isn't great in 1v2+ since most of his damage is single target, but once you have titanic, you can fight squshies easily since they get melted by the auto reset; however, he is often underestimated in 1v1, 2v2, and 5v5 situations since he is great for peeling a carry out, jumping on and eliminating a backline, and forcing the enemy team into a 4v5 since you can draw someone away with your split push and then teleport to your team for a team fight with your ult.

The most difficult thing to master on Shen is his ult. Most players will read his ult and assume they should ult someone when they are at 10% health. This in incorrect however, since the most valuable thing about his ult is his ability to reposition to anywhere on the map almost immediately. You want to ult someone when they are at 30-50% health (depending on how tanky the person you are ulting is) so that they don't get killed before you can teleport. Clutch plays may make you feel good, but they will fail 9/10 times.

Shen's laning isn't great except that he is great for getting your jungler fed. A lot of what you do as a Shen revolves around setting up for your jungler to gank and ulting to get your other lanes kills. A good policy is to let your opponent push you to tower since it makes ganking your lane easy for your jungler and Shen has great farming under tower since his q attacks are almost always up, do enough damage to kill a ranged minion that has been shot once by a turret (only true once your q has reached rank 2), and hitting things with your q is your main way of getting energy back (only true once you have unlocked your e). Most of Shen's value comes in the late game when you can split the enemy team up for easy team fights or (if they don't send someone to stop you) you can get a turret or two in the time it takes them to win a team fight.

"When a good Shen has reached late game and has ult, every choice the enemy makes will lose them something"
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First Tree:
You always want to go Resolve if you are playing a serious build since Shen is a tank through and through.

Grasp of the Undying - This ability gives Shen an even better pre-6 trade potential since it does ~60 damage at level 1 which only gets better from there and it is his only real sustain in lane

Aftershock - This is an ok choice if you are looking for a low damage, but even tankier Shen

Bone Plating vs Demolish - Bone Plating is my favorite since it helps you survive the tough laning phase; however, Demolish can allow you to get even more off of your split pushes

Font of Life - only good for support Shen (thought extremely important in that role

Conditioning - I usually go this since it provides so much defense after 10 minutes

Overgrowth - Very good pick since the extra health can give you a bit more damage on your titanic as well

You can go Electrocute for Lightning Shen as a joke, but it isn't good so don't try it in ranked or any game that you actually want to do anything in

Second Tree:
This is where the choices can vary a bit more

Sudden Impact vs Cheap Shot - I usually go sudden impact since cheap shot doesn't do much damage, but this is entirely up to choice (just note that they only way to proc cheap shot is with your e which is only a 1.5 second taunt)
Ultimate vs Ingenious Hunters - I usually go ultimate hunter since it provides a lot more chances to make ult plays as well as allowing you to always be splitting late game; however, ingenious can allow you to get more value out of your titanic if you find you are always just a little short on damage in fights

Legend Alacrity - a very good choice if the enemy team has a lot of cc that isn't knockups
Triumph - since none of the other 1st or 3rd row precision runes are very effective on Shen

Nullifying Orb - Decent choice if the enemy team and/or enemy top laner is magic damage as this gives you more survivability
Transcendence - Useful for reducing Shen's extremely high cooldowns on w, e, and ult (and the damage (ad once you buy tiamat) if you max out cdr isn't terrible either)
Gathering Storm - Since Shen's ult has an 135% ap scaling on the shield, this can be useful if you foresee a long lasting game (also his q can gain more % health damage if you get enough ap)

Magical Footwear - Not a terrible pick since this will allow you to stick to people more effectively, but it also means you can't get merc treads or tabi early

Future's Market vs Minion Dematerializer - Future's Market can allow you to get tiamat, finish your titanic, or finish sunfire sooner, but that means you will be putting yourself a little bit further behind each time you use it. Minion Dematerializer is good if you are against a tough lane like Teemo, Darius, or Sion since you can pick up some minions safely as well as increasing your clear potential for splitting later

Cosmic Insight vs Approach Velocity - While Approach might be better in a select few situations, Cosmic would be better almost all the time since it reduces Shen's very long cooldowns
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Passive - Ki Barrier

After completing an ability's effects, Shen shields himself from 50 − 101 (based on level) (+ 14% bonus health) damage for 2.5 seconds. If the triggering ability successfully affected at least one champion, Ki Barrier's cooldown is reduced by 4 − 7.5 (based on level) seconds.

Shen's power manifests as a Spirit Blade that he can control with his abilities.

This ability is a lot of what makes Shen so tanky. Since this is up very often, this gets him an innate advantage in trades as well as providing him some cover while farming. Note that the shield doesn't activate till the ability completes (q: your sword reaches you, w: you activate the block timer, e: you finish the dash, ult: you teleport to the ally) so it takes quite a bit of training to time the shield to block fast attacks.
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Q - Twilight Assault

Shen recalls his Spirit Blade to his location. Enemies the blade collides with are slowed (15/20/25/30/35% based on rank of ability) for the next 2 seconds when moving away from Shen.

Once his Spirit Blade arrives, Shen empowers his next 3 basic attacks within 8 seconds to gain 75 bonus range and deal bonus magic damage (small amount of flat damage + 2-4% of target's max health damage).

If the Spirit Blade collides with an enemy champion, the empowerment is enhanced, dealing increased bonus magic damage (+2% max health damage) and gaining 50% bonus attack speed.

This is all of Shen's damage until he gets titanic and the attack speed that it provides is what makes his titanic so effective. Learning to keep a champion between you and your blade while fighting is key to being successful on Shen since the extra damage and attack speed from the empowered q makes a huge difference in fights.

The slow on this is surprisingly strong which makes it great for keeping people from kiting you.
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W - Spirit's Refuge

Shen primes his Spirit Blade, creating an area around it. If Shen or an allied champion enter the area, or after 2 seconds, the Spirit Blade creates a protective zone around it for 1.75 seconds, causing allies in the zone to dodge attacks

As listed in the match-ups section, this ability is pivotal to how a lot of lane interactions work. Using this correctly can cancel out about 1/3 of all champions in the game for the whole 1.5 seconds it is active since it blocks all things that proc on hit effects (including things like yasuo q (his tornadoes still knock you up)).

The only reason maxing this first or second is terrible is because upgrading it only reduces the cooldown and only by 1.5 seconds.
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E - Shadow Dash

Passive: Damage from Shadow Dash and Twilight Assault recovers 30/35/40 energy (at ranks 1, 3, and 5 on the ability).

Active: Shen dashes in the target direction, dealing physical damage to all enemy champions and monsters he hits and taunting them for 1.5 seconds.

While this ability taunts, its main purpose is to reposition yourself so that you can put an enemy champion between you and your blade or get away from a fight you no longer want to be in.

Note that this ability can go over walls and since it dashes pretty far, it can go over almost all the walls in the game (even the wall that marks the corner of the blue buff jungle and the beginning of mid lane).
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R - Stand United

Shen channels for 3 seconds, shielding the target allied champion for up to 5 seconds, increased by 0% − 60% (based on target's missing health).

Upon completing the channel, Shen and his Spirit Blade blink to the target ally's location.

This is what makes Shen so strong when played well. With this ability, you can save a team member from giving up a kill; help a lane secure a kill; provide your jungler that small amount more health they needed to stay alive long enough to steal a dragon, rift herald, or baron; and provides you the ability to be on the other side of the map split pushing while also being ready to participate in the team fights.

Note that your sword appears directly on top of you when you teleport with this or the summoner spell so using your e to pass through a champion will put them directly between you and your sword for a slow and strong autos.

Also note that your teleport can be canceled in any way a normal teleport can (any root, stun, knockup, silence, taunt, charm, etc) and you are still vulnerable to damage while doing this so activating it while in the middle of your lane could get you killed or cause you to teleport with less that the ideal amount of health. To deal with this, keep checking and stay in contact with the other lanes so you can be backed off for when you need to ult.
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Shen really only has one combo that gets stronger as you get titanic.

E to position yourself on the other side of a champion from your blade
Q to pull the blade to you giving you empowered attacks, faster attack speed, and slowing your target
auto attack then cast your titanic/tiamat to get value out of the auto reset/extra damage (if you have it)
then just keep attacking while trying to keep a champion between you and your blade so you can keep activating your q for more empowered autos
use your w as needed, use your e to reposition as it comes off cooldown, and use your titanic/tiamat right after a basic as it comes off cooldown
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Thank you for reading my guide! I have a fair amount of experience on Shen, and this guide is composed of information that I have personally been able to apply. I encourage you to experiment with other builds and playstyles, and I can guarantee that you will enjoy playing Shen. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

-Fact Smash
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A comment on support Shen

While Shen can be played in the support role, I highly recommend picking someone like Leona or Alistar instead for the following reasons.

1) Shen's kit is based around dueling with a single person and so he won't do as well in 2v2 trades as he does in a 1v1 trade top lane
2) Shen's only cc to protect someone is his 1.5 second taunt and his slow (which isn't strong enough to warrant playing support
3) Shen is very reliant on being able to get titanic and some other tank items before he is really strong which means you are going to be really weak for almost half the game
4) Shen's best support attribute is that he can ult the ADC which can be done from anywhere + you can get to higher levels faster (thereby reducing his ult cooldown significantly)

Shen is a viable support, but only barely and I would recommend only playing him support if you have no other supports that you can play
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A comment on Lightning Shen

I think this is a joke build so don't play it unless you want to feed. I only put it in here because Bombabo and I have a running joke about it.
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A comment on blank matchups

I haven't fought some champs that regularly go top (mostly because they just aren't played often). This means some of my match-up listings are blank. I will fill them in when I come across the champion in game. Feel free to comment if you see them to let me know what you think I should put there.
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