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Shen Build Guide by h4ilbaby

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League of Legends Build Guide Author h4ilbaby

[On-Going][6.16]True Top Lane Ninja Shen

h4ilbaby Last updated on August 15, 2016
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Top Lane
Ranked #22 in
Top Lane
Win 49%
Get More Stats

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: 18

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 12

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 0

Threats to Shen with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Darius With this build, you just have to believe in yourself and fight him, He will NOT kill you if you can assert your lane dominance, think of it as playing renekton without a double dash but with a dash stun and then throwing down an auto attack negator which litteraly makes him do ZERO damage. (Timing is crucial or his threat level rises, it's all skill)
Aatrox Not like he gets played often but still, the fact that he relies on autoattacks to get his health back or hurt you is negated with 1 ability, so if he does dive you, just taunt him, pull your blade through him to empower the autos and then throw down your w to destroy his fighting potential.
Garen Getting a trend with all these auto-attack smackers but garen is no different, in fact his only way to screw you over is to silence you, but if you engage FIRST he cant even land his q if you negate it with your w, just be extremely careful when you become the villain because the execute on his ult is his 1 trump card against you in all situations.
Zed As both a Shen main and Zed main I know 1 of two ways this will turn out. You as shen will easily crush him early or you mess up just a few times and he will easily defeat you later on. There will be no pre-determined threat level for zed, but know this, you CAN always beat a zed no matter how good they are because YOU have the trump card on him. If he decides to all in you under tower its an obvious answer, taunt him and watch as he tanks every tower shot known to the rift or in lane again taunt him in the direction of your tower when he ults you. But again this is a do or die scenario where you can crush him, but only if you do it with you own skills.
Yasuo 91k mastery 7 yasuo, ive played this guy alot, but not as much as shen, you can be so disruptive to his kit its almost scary, your w blocks all his autos and q, your taunt will mess his ult up so hard once he lands it, and your q smackdown will chunk his squishy ass hard.
Nautilus I wish there was a threat level 0, he honestly can't do jack squat unless he decides to go full AP naut, then you have a slight problem.

- Introduction
- About Me
- Pros/Cons
- Runes
- Masteries
- Skill Order
- Spells
- Items
- Matchups
- Author's Notes

So let's get this started. I'm h4ilbaby, but my summoner's name is suchfunnymuchwow, And I just happen to be a Shen main. Over the years of playing ranked back in the early season's I enjoyed experimenting with unconventional but somehow effective ways to bring out a champion's potential to both confuse and disorient an enemy summoners playstyle. My first try at this was Shen mid with hybrid ap and ad build types, and somehow it destroyed Zed and Ahri picks which brought an immense amount of satisfaction to a ranked win.
Of course I never really made it past Diamond 4 in my great escapades, and ranking up used to be much easier back then, so I eventually just transferred over to normals to enjoy league as it should be. However over time even in normal games these unorthodox builds get destroyed when more and more changes, nerfs and otherwise unfortunate champion reworks appear, such as the dreaded Fiora rework and Darius patches. But not all was lost. For a new rework, one I had not expected or wanted had appeared. Shen received a major update to his kit. No longer did he have ranged poke in the form of Vorpal Blade which was a major advantage to his lane sustain. No more did he have his great Auto-Attack buff, Ki Strike, which allowed him to pull off great trades at low levels that the enemy lane did not expect. And finally the removal of his weak but trusty asset of his small shield Feint, which let him dive into a fight and trade off a Ki Strike and a Vorpal Blade before retreating back to safety. Those were the good old days of the old Shen. But now he had been given a bigger role in the league roster. Replacing his old Passive with a passive shield Ki Barrier, allows shen to passively engage with an automatic shield buff. A tank slaying Q, Twilight Assault which enables him to duel with even the strongest of fighters and come out on top. An improved W, Spirit's Refuge which turns him into an invulnerable beast against AA based champs (I'm lookin at you Yasuo !!!). and keeping his almost unique form of CC, his taunt, Shadow Dash and game changing ult Stand United makes the new Shen an amazingly disruptive team player in all stages of the game.

So I'm going to teach you how to play a new kind of Shen, one that is not hindered by Meta picks that are so boring to play against time after time.

This Shen You Are The Carry.


So Just to recap very quickly before we start our In-Depth guide to Shen I'll give you a super brief into on myself that I havn't already done so.

I have in my grand total of games played over 2000 Shen games across regions and accounts, I decided to main Shen when I realized his potential use in every single game situation.

That is around the time I played things like Garen Mid lane and crushed every mage, Vi mid because Ekko can't escape nomatter how hard he tries, and Nocturne mid, why? because honestly having a spellshield is just fun to screw with mages.

Now on to the juicy Shen stuff.


Pros of Shen and Specifically this Shen build

+++ You're the Ultimate Duelist - With your kit you proc Fervor of Battle in 3 auto's which immediately increases your damage output whilst dodging all auto's and forcing the enemy to auto you!

++ Better than Average sustain - No need for Warlord's Bloodlust as you're kit now starts you off with a solid 7% Lifesteal and a Doran's Blade gives you 10% off the bat allowing you to heal for a solid chunk of health per auto, and even more on your empowered Q.

++ Every Allied tower is your Ally - Feel like you're losing lane hard? not to worry as people who feel the need to tower dive you ( Tottaly not a garbage champion) will be met with a swift Shadow Dash which will ruin their day and send them running to their fountain, if they happened to survive.

++ My Teammate is dying!!! - Ever feel like a kayle ult just wasnt enough, or a zilean ult just screwed you over because now you get to die twice? You can be the ultimate enemy killjoy with Shen. Pop your Ult onto a troubled ally, bring down your Spirit's Refuge and taunt the bad guys away from your death defied ally. (also brings style points for blocking that would be killer shot with your W)

+ Surprising ammount of mixed damage tank killyness - Nobody walks into lane thinking " Shen is gonna wreck my game so hard with his damage" so we abuse this to our advantage by shocking them with 10% of their health gone at level 1 or if you are really good around 15-20% which will send them to safety, but beware as you have just angered the enemy jungler into camping your ***.

+ Map presence of a god - Taking Teleport along with Stand United 100% allows you to maintain a presence wherever you are when the spells are not on cooldown. In short, if played right you can get 2 kills/assists in another lane then just Teleport right on back to lane like nothing happened.

+ Good Early, Impressive Mid game, Terryfying late - Unless you manage to royally screw yourself over, or get camped like no tomorrow, you will not be outscalled, yes you may not be the Yasuo Pentakill guy but imagine being that guy who 100-1'd the 20-0 darius who would have Pentakilled your team, saving them the game and allowing you to win.

Now time to face the sad but undenyable truths of Shen's weaknesses

--- Despite what others will tell you, he truly is not easy - yes mechanically speaking every single one of Shen's abilities are not only easy to understand but also easy to use, point and click global shield, auto attack debuf zone and cc sounds like a perfect disruption type champion, but what if you time your shield too late? Miss your taunt? or forget where you last placed your spirit blade and activate your W half way across the map and die like a fool? Yes Shen Needs to be on point with ALL of his abilities.

--- I can't cast a spell???? - Yeah he may be MANALESS but he isn't Resourceless, your abilities have ridiculous costs if you don't actual land them and that will undoubtedly cost you your life. In short, if you press Q, commit to using it.

-- Knowing when to leave a comrade to die - Your Ult is a channel and in doing so, unless you get displaced, you will undoubtedly join an ally elsewhere on the rift, however in doing so you are now at the mercy of whatever lane you have just entered. Knowing when to ult and when not to ult can make the difference between a good play or a wasted ult and wasted life.

- Yes, you are not Riven, Fiora, Yasuo, aka: Cheese champions, your only quick early cooldown spell is your Q - Although you often will have the damage advantage in bursts early and sustain later, you can't exactly expect to have the dumb cc of a Riven so don't put yourself in danger where you have NO escape potential.

- Fervor of Battle over Grasp of the Undying? - Yes this build will take a little getting used to but I assure you the reward is worth it.

Dishonorable Mention Unless you can get ahead of the curve, it is very hard to make any sort of comeback.


Runes are important to Shen but not imperative to his winning therefor I leave the choices of Runes to the player's style but I will also explain why I have gone with these runes and not others.

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist= I take these because even though Shen got a nice quality of life MR scaling on level, he still needs just a bit more scaling IMO.
Greater Seal of Scaling Armor= I personally know when I can trade off damage with my shield and W therefore I don't worry about being poked down too hard so again I take scaling runes depending on the situation.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage= I'm not playing Assassin Shen so Attack speed is out of the question so I go with standard Marks 101.
Greater Quintessence of Life Steal= Standard for being able to stay in lane and sustain far better than other champions.


You can go with flat MR and ARMOR runes but that would be 100% situation and preference based. This is a guide not a decree. You are free to play as you wish.


This is where things might get confusing so I'll be sure to elaborate on seemingly odd picks

Fury You take Fury so that you have the ability to Auto faster, why not Sorcery? because honestly what does 2% damage give you...simple math here 2% of 1000 Damage let's say is 20, That quite literally is utterly useless on almost any champion in my opinion.
Feast This one is kind of stange to some but really is 3% more damage better? Again number crunching lets make it 5% to our grand total of 1000 AD (which you won't have btw) equals 50 extra damage. I'd prefer to take more sustain which allows me to fight longer.
Vampirism But you just told us that all these small percents mean nothing? what gives? well yes that is true that 2% lifesteal isn't any better than health regen however 2% plus 5% plus 3% from all our starting items gives us a grand total of 10% meaning those empowered auto attacks from Twilight Assault level 1 will on average heal you for 20-40 damage per hit. Now thats efficient use of masteries.
Oppressor Vs Bounty Hunter honestly If I had a choice I wouldn't even both with these masteries but I take Oppressor simply because it does guarantee 2.5% more damage when I taunt someone but then again all these percents still mean jack to me, I'm not LCS meaning that these masteries truthfully are not the most important thing in the world.
Battering Blows Now here I actually debated between the two masteries but after a comprehensive statistical analysis of damage dealt each game with shen, You will ALWAYS deal more AD than AP even if you go FULL AP. So take those Battering Blows .
Fervor of Battle The real piece de resistance, this is the essense of this build vs the better known Grasp of the Undying build. early on with the easy 8 stacks you will get, thats a free 7.2 AD damage at level 1 vs your opponent which effectively brings your starting AD count to 77+7.2= WHOPPING 85.2 AD vs champions (disregarding their armor).
And late game you get a disgusting total of 14*8=112 Attack Damage vs champions plus base Attack Damage with no Items makes shen deal 112+112 Attack Damage at level 18 No items, Fervor of Battle is a no-brained choice at this point especially when you compare it to Grasp of the Undying. You sacrifice 112 potential AD for an attack that every 4 seconds IN COMBAT I may add you deal 3% of your max health in magic damage and heal for half of that. Simple math time. Average end game tank will have 4000-5000 health so dealing 3% of that in Magic Damage equals around 120-150 magic damage if you hit them in combat every 4 seconds. VS hitting for 224 every second and healing 10% of that eveyr hit (not even counting the empowered Q) So in the end I ALWAYS suggest Fervor even in a tank build you may do.

Savagery is next and we take this so we have the damage advantage on minions because honestly the extra movement speed is not worth the early damage advantage.
Secret Stash because who doesn't love cookies? No but seriously the extra 20hp instant heal can be the difference between a close escape or a close death. Also I don't feel the need to explain more percent value damage increase with Assassin .
Merciless leave no opponent alive, the reason I advocate this even if Shen used Mana is because 5% can infact make a difference between a last hit kill secured or death, also Shen does not use Mana sooooo...
Dangerous Game Is probably the equivalent of heal when in comes down to the last tick of Ignite or the last poison tick. This mastery WILL save your life in dire situations. You don't need bandit if you know how to farm.


Nothing special here just a standard Q max then E max for more damage and lower cooldown and finally W and always maxing R when you can.

At Level 1 you want your Q to last hit minions super easily and also to trade out and dish out more damage than your opponent.

At level 3 Look to make engagements with a Shadow Dash pull Twilight Assault through champion and throw down a Spirit's Refuge to complete the combo easily winning you a trade with little to no damage thanks to Spirit's Refuge blocking the forced auto attacks from your Shadow Dash and then blocking the rest of the damage through your Ki Barrier.

At level 6 Look to make those easy ult outplays, because global ganks are the best ganks, BUT DO NOT ULT ANY RANDOM TEAMMATE communication is key, please refer back to my Pros and Cons chapter to understand when to use your ult.

Finnaly post 6 you are free to provide global support and lane presence so also be ready to think about outplaying your opponent in lane more often as they would have hit their skill spike too now.


I classify his passive as a spell because 4-7.5 seconds on its cooldown are reduced when you pass a Twilight Assault or Shadow Dash through an enemy or Activate Spirit's Refuge on an ally making this a surprisingly effective trading tool that you hardly even notice, do not underestimate this shield.

The bread and butter of Shen's kit which allows him to trade out surprisingly high amounts of damage. early levels with three hits on an enemy champion without passing the blade through a champion you hit for approximately 10% of their max health in magic damage, and if you do end up passing the blade you hit for approximately 15% max health damage at level 1!
and at level 18 you hit for 15%-21% max health damage respectively, keep in mind that you gain 50% bonus attack speed and slow running enemies by 35% when you pass the blade through an enemy champion. SO pass that blade!

The reason why Shen can feel invincible sometimes is because of the W E synergy, when you throw down your W and simultaneously activate your taunt on an enemy but making sure to pass that blade BEFORE activating your W on the enemy champion (addendum don't look like a dumbass, ive done it multiple times before :/ ) which then allows you to feel almost like a Kayle ult for 1.75 seconds in which you can proceed to slaughter your opponent or opponents. Bonus points for when you ult onto a dying ally and REMEMBER when you Ult onto an ally you bring your blade on top of yourself and the ally meaning you can instantly w to save your ally from auto attack damage and taunt ahead to scare off the baddies.

Sadly with the removal of Shen's old Taunt he no longer negates 50% of damage taken but not to worry with the addition of your new W you actually now take 100% damage taken. Use this spell to engage hard on would be killers or if you must, retreat to a safer location. Remember that this dash can pass through all medium sized walls but cannot Shurima Shuffle your way from jungle to bot lane.

The reason why most people play Shen is the ultimate the glorious which makes for global ganking and saving. 1 very good comment I make is that you must know when to ult and not to ult and in doing so, when to save a teammate and when to let them die. Also if your vision is obscured on an ally (lets say that the support is literally on top of the adc and you want to ult the adc, Ctrl R click on their icon to easily teleport to your desired ally. NOTE DOES NOT WORK ON Paranoia but can work great if Morgana can predict the impending Nocturne ult and that will allow Shen if Morgana can Black Shield Shen to still see the ADC and proceed to ult onto the would be dead ADC however this requires so many scenarios in which doing so is incredibly rare but amazing to pull off. Easy way to do this, Buy a Banshee's Veil.

Shensasional Combo's you can pull off with shen


This will ONLY be a suggested build path and a brief explanation of items and why I would go for them.

Start off with a Doran's Blade It will be your go to for both getting some early damage off and for that sweet sweet Lifesteal . If you don't feel confident with yourself then go for the Doran's Shield although I personnally find it wasted when you could have 10% lifesteal instead.
Grabbing Blade of the Ruined King early lets you take down tanks with ease but if you happen to be facing a hard AP counter then rushing a Maw of Malmortius may be your only option.
Trinity Force and The Black Cleaver are your next core items, we say CORE because 40% CDR is your best friend. It means that your Q is always off cooldown and you can then spam your Shadow Dash and almost always have your passive up.
Also because all your abilities are on such short cooldowns you can always proc the Trinity Force every time it's cooldown is refreshed.
The Black Cleaver also helps tremendously at ruining tanks and squishies lives.
Maw of Malmortius is my go to for cases with extreme AP burst but if I feel like I'm also getting cc locked, grabbing a mercurials in place of a Ravenous Hydra or The Bloodthirster can be a good pick, but you should always pay attention to how much of each damage type is on each team.
Ravenous Hydra is my go to pick for extreme wave clear but for that 1v1 dueling potential The Bloodthirster can be a great pick for an added shield bonus.
Defensive options are not that limited but I tend to stay quite offensive with my build path.
In cases where the enemy team has High AD Crit Randuin's Omen is an obvious choice but if it tends to be more flat AD based I run Dead Man's Plate for the extra slow and hard first hit.
Boots are always optional in my Shen builds as he has the technical mobility to be anywhere at any given time he has no cooldowns but if you must buy boots, just don't buy ionian. Pick the right boot for the right situation. Or buy multiple for a fashion statement!


Honestly here is probably the most important section so paying attention is crucial if you want to get the most out of your Shen, Also instead of telling you how to beat the enemy champion I'll instead list of their strengths and weaknesses to you because the problem with most build guides is that they highlight obvious points that vary between matchups meaning you will most likely find someone who goes against every description you know to understand.

In addition to this I will place my personal win rate % for each champion faced so you may get a better understanding of the outcome instead of a simple rating system.

Annie Her stun is predictable so know when to engage and when to disengage, she will always outrange you, fighting her requires patience as you can be baited into instagib stun lock death, she however will most likely need to flash engage you so baiting out her flash can make you killing her easier. 67%

Aatrox This guy has almost zero advantage against you albeit he has an invuln period and AA steroid, however, its hard for him to hurt you when you have your Spirit's Refuge to consistently deny his damage or healing potential. 100%

Anivia Pray you do not end up facing this bird, along with her other Bird Friend, she will out burst you, out range you, and flat out, out damage you unless you can early game cheese out her summoners and Rebirth and rush back with some more magic resist or you won't see the twilight skies anymore. 10%

Azir Again, because he is not Auto-Attack based in regards to his soldiers. You will no longer beat him with the new Shen .0%

Ahri Amazingly prepare to crush her, even an experienced Ahri will be bewildered when she watches helplessly as her health slowly depletes, she may out-range you but she will not out-damage you if you can play out her charm with your taunt. 70%

Cho'Gath He might seem too difficult to face but when you realize his real trump card is in his silence, you just bait out his only counter to your spells then immediately engage on the bug, be very careful with his execute however. 70%

Darius This big guy ain't so tough when he can't stack his bleed on you, bait out the only engage( Apprehend) he has then hug the big guy so he can't heal with his Q Decimate. 90%

Dr. Mundo Surprisingly I have only ever faced 3 Mundo's ever so my information is limited in how to approach him however I do know he has ZERO hard cc capabilities and have out-traded him in almost every engagement but be careful of his Infected Cleaver as it acts like a ranged version of your own Twilight Assault. 67%

Ekko Not too terribly hard but you might have to grab some magic resist early, this guy IMO is way too strong to be a tank in regards to the passive effect on Parallel Convergence and his entire kit. Play at your own risk for good Ekko's will almost surely win. 50%

Fiora AKA cheese champ #1 before her rework she was a much more honorable and fun champion to face. Now with her dumb true damage she almost always 100-0's you, however, my own personal Fiora hatred aside, you can relatively effectively beat her with good timing on your Shensational combo making short work of a relatively strong champion. I do though have a small place in my heart for excellent Fiora players who have mechanically mastered her.70%

Fizz Just ban him, it really isn't fun riot...jokes aside, it's not a joke, he just isn't FUN to face, whether or not you beat him is irrelavent it's dumb to evade tower shots, has a dumb DOT Seastone Trident. You can however delete him if you can time EVERY ability you have and nullify his DOT damage. 60%

Gangplank Oh boy, well he can remove your taunt Remove Scurvy and he can out poke you but you can still avoid his relatively strong gave with more Shensational combos. Note that you cannot block his Parrrley. 60%

Garen So much fun to face, as you do facewreck him, bait out his Decisive Strike and execute a full combo on him, you will not have ANY trouble laning against this guy. 100%

Gnar Kind of an odd one but since he is pretty much only basic attack based and even his ult form uses a lot of AA's after his full spell rotation, the fight will always be in your favor. 90%

Illaoi I've been blessed with only ever fighting 2 Illaoi's but in all truth she is not to be messed with, I've tried every build against her but I've yet to find one that works 100% of the time, Doesn't use AA's which is the huge issue. NA%

Irelia Ionian vs Ionian but you will triumph against her, especially now with her new update, she will practically only ever have 10% tenacity which is nothing. bait out her Equilibrium because unless she kills her target with Bladesurge she can only apply 1 instance of true damage from her Hiten Style and your full Shensational combo will make short work of her blocking all other AA's. (old)60-(new)80%

Jax his only trump card against you will be the stun before the after he blocks the damage, if you can time your combo on him though you will come out on top of the fight because Spirit's Refuge is much stronger in regards to pairing it with a Shadow Dash. 70%

Kled New but nothing special, since he builds so tanky, your full combo kind of just deletes him and his pet. Time your Spirit's Refuge to block his Violent Tendencies and you will have zero trouble. 100%

Master Yi on the off chance you happen to face a Master Yi top, think of him as Irelia without a dash but a teleport instead. hes even easier to kill since he is 100% AA based and as we all know, cc kills Master Yi. 100%

Mordekaiser Just pray, you do not ever fight this guy, tested in a custom match though Shen will always come out on top late game, but getting there is the problem, a good Mordekaiser will not waste his Mace of Spades on your Spirit's Refuge. 65%

Nasus Dead dogs wag no tails. He will be crushed by your full combo, DO NOT LET HIM STACK EVER, that means throwing down a Spirit's Refuge to block an incoming Siphoning Strike on a minion if it must be done to screw with his farming. 80%

Nautilus Send him back to the depths. He has CC, thats all he has, you will always come out on top in a trade. But beware the full AP Nautilus as he will scare the **** out of you. 100% but HARD if AP

Singed No real way to beat him, rush a Maw of Malmortius and build defensively is your only hope.

Sion No trouble here just execute a full Shensational combo and back away from his passive when you kill him. you will kill him. 100%

Swain We made it to the bird, like Anivia he's just too cheesy and it makes me want to give up before the game even starts. 30%

Tahm Kench This is a true 50/50 split between who is the better player. if he eats you, it's almost 100% over for you, but if you can block all his auto's after his first Q, then you should come out on top.#benchthekench 50%

Teemo Just ban him, it's a fizz 2.0. He shouldn't be allowed top lane.

Trundle all around fun bruiser vs bruiser lane just make sure to stay out of his Frozen Domain because that is his equivalent to your Spirit's Refuge only he has the upper hand. 80%

Tryndamere He's not really played at all anymore and it comes down to his predictability, you know when hes strong and that you don't want to 1v1 him when he has his ult, only difference is that Shen can proceed to block all his attacks before he dies with a well timed Shadow Dash and then Spirit's Refuge to block all of his possible damage before his ult runs out. 70%

Poppy Simply bait out her Steadfast Presence and then proceed to go to town on her. 80%

Yasuo and Zed I'm putting these two together because I do have the most knowledge facing these two the most.

#1 Yasuo Truth be told, he should in all cases be able to defeat you, BUT, proper execution of the Shensational combo will prevent any and all damage, because I've played my fair share of Cheese champion #3 Yasuo, I have the mechanical know how of how long his q range is, how far he can dash, how quickly he can recharge his Steel Tempest and just generally how to beat him. in short, you must not fear the Yasuo engage him, HARD and continue to do so, he isn't as strong as you think him to be.

#2 Zed Knowing Zed's cooldowns is key to victory here. you can either beat him outright or die to him outright. remember that if he lands his Living Shadow Shadow Slash on you, it reduces the cooldown of his Living Shadow. attempt to always engage when his shadow is on cooldown for a better chance of success and pay attention to where his Death Mark shadow is to prevent his escape potential.

Show Him the True power of a Ninja Shen, Akali, Kennen vs Zed

Honorable Mention Riven you may have noticed I seemed to fail to mention Riven however the case is that I do not have enough REAL games and by REAL I mean the varience between a good Riven and a bad Riven is too high because people believe her to be easy. Truth is, thats complete bull, she mechanically requires alot of
Pa Shence to master and because I have yet to face a more than decent riven more than twice I cannot give a legitimate response. 100% for all bad rivens, Still waiting for BoxBox tier riven plays. Like not missing the triple Q over a krug wall...


Thank you to everybody who went out of their way to spend some time reading this guide. I hope to see more Shen's out there on the rift and if you ever need some tips or tricks for specific scenarios do not hesitate to email me at and if you would like any other possibly guides made let me know!
Thanks again for your time.