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Shyvana Build Guide by SpikeThePike

Jungle [PRE-SEASON 10] Shyvana jungle total guide - The Most in Dep

Jungle [PRE-SEASON 10] Shyvana jungle total guide - The Most in Dep

Updated on November 20, 2019
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League of Legends Build Guide Author SpikeThePike Build Guide By SpikeThePike 1879 78 8,852,031 Views 245 Comments
1879 78 8,852,031 Views 245 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author SpikeThePike Shyvana Build Guide By SpikeThePike Updated on November 20, 2019
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Quick Guide

If it's your first time playing this champion, take Smite + Exhaust as your summoner's spells in low elo (Iron/Bronze/low Silver), that's the easiest to make ganks work, otherwise take Smite + Flash. Take the suggested runes - or if you don't have a rune slot dedicated to Shyvana, take any rune page you have set up for bruiser / auto-attack junglers like Udyr, Volibear, Jax or Master Yi - Shyvana can work with a wide range of runes (except for Presence of Mind which is not allowed on her). I strongly recommend attack speed as your first minor rune choice, it makes a big difference to your early clear and jungle survivability (kill camps faster = take less damage).

Start Hunter's Machete and W. Level your abilities W first, then E, then Q. Obviously R at 6, 11, 16 - Shyvana has one of the strongest ultimates in the game.

Basic mechanics: use Q for an auto-attack reset, and learn to move between auto-attacks to always stay on top of your target, this is essential to playing Shyvana well (practise this on the Rift Scuttler - it walks away from you after you hit it, but a Shyvana with W running should be able to stay right on it).

Follow this build path: Stalker's Blade - Bloodrazor -> Titanic Hydra -> Ninja Tabi -> Dead Man's Plate, you can't really go wrong with that build. And enjoy! Your final two items depend on the game: Spirit Visage -> Blade of the Ruined King in an average game, or something more defensive like Thornmail if an enemy is fed or against full AD.

Adapt the build to your own game. The basic build order assumes that your magic-dealing opponents are not a threat until after you have 3 complete items - most mages need AP items and magic penetration and levels before they become a serious threat - so magic defense (Spirit Visage) can wait until then.

You need to earn XP quickly in the first 10 minutes of the game. Shyvana can easily become 2 levels ahead of the enemy jungler, and she scales hard with levels and is hard to beat when she's ahead. You do this by focusing on farming early, using the most efficient routes, don't be afraid to farm the enemy jungle as well (which sets him back). You must farm ceaselessly all game, and also gather any XP which is free in lanes (for example while your laner backs).
  • First 5 minutes: Farm jungle camps to level 5/6
  • Do not waste early time ganking or trying to help lanes, because you can't do much (unless the setup is perfect) - it's better to get to level 6 faster. (If your laners complain, just tell them Faker doesn't gank before level 6 when he plays Shyvana.)
  • If against a weak early jungler, you can do an invade at any level, best at levels 4-5-6 when you are probably already 1 level ahead of him
  • Sneak a solo Dragon, you can take it easily from level 4
  • 5-7 minutes: Gank when you have level 6, you are very strong in Dragon Form, counter-jungle, farm in both sides of the jungle
  • Rush early boots, daggers and your jungle item for Smite
  • By 10 minutes you should have the Bloodrazor enchantment completed, this gives a power spike
  • Gank every time your ultimate is up - you should be already heading towards a lane whenever your fury bar is above 90%
  • Help your team take the first turret for the gold bonus if not already taken, Shyvana is a good turret pusher (thanks to her Q auto-attack reset)
  • 11-13 minutes: Buy Tier 2 boots, speed is important on Shyvana. Farm hard in both sides of the jungle, kill the enemy jungler, take opportunities when you see them (e.g. Rift Herald), cover the whole map
  • 14-16 minutes: Join team fights as necessary, again try to time the fights for when your ultimate is up
  • 17-20 minutes: Help your lanes more, take objectives: Outer Turrets, second Dragon, Rift Herald. Look for skirmishes, you can take down any opponent.
  • 21-25 minutes: Pressure everywhere: split push, flank team fights, clean up, win.

Early game, your main task (apart from levelling up!) is to shut down the enemy jungler. So you steal camps, contest Rift Scuttlers, invade, counter gank, and generally make his life difficult. Late game, your role depends on how the game is going, you can split push, or anchor your team as a powerful bruiser (not a tank), or a bit of both.

Shyvana is tanky, but she's not a tank. She does not have the damage reductions and disables that true tank champions have. She is a high damage champion, with good base damage and scales very well with the suggested builds. You can build her with full tank items if there's nobody else to be your team's front line. But she's more powerful with a higher damage build.

Generally it is hard for opponents to kill a champion who is two levels ahead of themselves, and even harder if that's a Shyvana. If you can avoid any early deaths - you should be able to, as there's little reason why a jungler should die in the early game - and buy an early health item ( Titanic Hydra or Frozen Mallet) then Shyvana can build up a mystique in the eyes of opponents as "unkillable".

Titanic Hydra is best for low elo games or those typical solo queue games where you are not sure about your teammates and might need to 1 v 9: it is Shyvana's highest damage item if the active is used correctly in her combo (takes practice!) But for high elo games or premade 5 v 5 where you have competent teammates then Frozen Mallet is best, because it makes Shyvana more useful to the team overall: your nearby allies should be able to take good advantage of the permaslow. Some builds take both items!
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The runes I recommend on Shyvana are like this.

Primary: Precision. Press the Attack - Triumph - Legend: Tenacity (or other Legends depending on game) - Last Stand

Secondary: Sorcery. Absolute Focus - Waterwalking

These runes give Shyvana unexpected early strength so you can do some effective ganking at levels 3, 4 and 5 even with no items, and win any river encounter. If you can make this work, you can start an early snowball: a Shyvana who gets ahead is hard to beat. The ganking strength comes from the bonus burst damage from Shyvana's full combo thanks to Press the Attack; and a damage steroid from Last Stand when Shyvana is on less than 60% health, which she usually will be when ganking (she can get very low on health, in early ganks).

Season 9 nerfed Celerity, making it much less interesting for Shyvana than it was in Season 8 (it adds a small movement speed bonus when she has W up, but no damage buff). I recommend Absolute Focus instead, for some free AD (or AP if you follow an AP build) and a touch faster early clears: it buffs you when Last Stand is not buffing you.

The main change made in Season 9 was that rune stats are separate from rune paths. This frees you from the shackles of having to choose Precision to get the attack speed buff, you can explore other rune paths (more below). Of course Shyvana must take Attack Speed + Adaptive Force + Armor. Other weaker junglers take 2 Armor runes, but Shyvana does not need to do that.

I have experimented with many different rune builds, now that Shyvana no longer has to take the Precision path, and also am constantly looking at what some of the best players are taking and keeping an open mind for anything clever or sneaky. There are quite a few options which can work. Even so, the Precision tree still seems best, if you are following a mixed damage bruiser build as recommended here (AP Shyvana prefers different runes). Press the Attack suits Shyvana well: combined with Last Stand, in a fight it makes her final E into a powerful execute.

Runes in more detail

Shyvana scales best with attack speed - even though her abilities have some AD and AP scaling, her main damage comes from basic attacks and the bonus % health damage on her basic attacks (from E and, later in the game, from items). That's why I recommend the +10% attack speed rune stat over any other offensive choice. Early damage will also help Shyvana have a good and fast start, with faster farming and some ganking possibilities, so we take Adaptive Force as the center rune. For the defensive stat, early game armor helps every jungler.

In the Precision tree, you might think Lethal Tempo is good, giving high attack speed in fights against champions (the rune starts working 1.5 seconds after first damaging a champion, and Shyvana can do first damage with E, W or R). Yes, it is good in certain situations, for example where the enemy team has many tanks. But Press the Attack is usually a better keystone, giving higher burst damage as long as you can land three attacks. Shyvana needs attack speed for farming and big objectives, but burst damage when ganking and fighting champions - and Shyvana can access the third attack easily using her auto-attack resets from Q. This rune is a strong help when ganking, even early ganks before you have items, because it also buffs your ally's damage - a bit similar to the old Expose Weakness mastery which was good on Shyvana. It lets Shyvana win duels because her damage increases as the duel goes on. Again Conqueror seems like it would be good on a bruiser type melee champion who does sustained damage, but Shyvana shouldn't normally need too many attacks to kill an opponent and her AD scaling is not all that good.

Triumph is taken by almost every champion in the game, it gives a decent amount of healing every time you have a kill or an assist, which is so helpful in teamfights and works especially well on a high-health bruiser champion like Shyvana. (Note: Presence of Mind] is not available to her as she is manaless and her ulti availability depends on her Fury bar not cooldowns.) With Legend: Tenacity you will gain Tenacity as the game goes on which is a great free statistic for Shyvana - she can easily buy everything else, but Tenacity is hard to buy - and in a game where you need high Tenacity, it makes Mercury's Treads twice as effective. (But in a game where the enemy team has no CC and a lot of damage, like a Master Yi jungle opponent, Legend: Alacrity helps your farm so you get stronger faster, Legend: Bloodline helps your survivability.) Last Stand gives a noticeable damage boost when on less than 60% health, even better when on low health - this is great for Shyvana as she generally stays in fights even when she is low on health, due to her ability to continue dealing out sustained damage after opponents have already used everything they have.

Press the Attack and Last Stand work really well together, giving a combined damage bonus of over 20% on your damage in the middle and end of a fight. This works great for Shyvana who is a sustained damage dealer - and all these % damage buffs also enhance her on-hit damage. They make her Flame Breath long-distance nuke at the end of a fight very very dangerous to enemies. Shyvana is known as a strong duellist, and the combination of these runes ensures she should win just about any 1 v 1 fight (not Warwick in the early game).

There are various options for your secondary path. For offense, best is the Sorcery tree. Absolute Focus gives bonus AD when near full health: it's a buff to early farming and as the game progresses and Shyvana becomes tankier, she should be near full health at the start of every fight. For your other rune on this path, Scorch sounds so right on Shyvana :) and some damage after the enemy left the fight is always good, combine this with Red Smite, Red Buff and Ignite and you can deal out a surprising amount of hurt to an enemy who thought he survived. But unfortunately Scorch is weak early when you want it to count, and so actually I do not recommend it. Instead I take Waterwalking for fast movement speed in the river (you will be in the river plenty as a jungler) and bonus AD in the river. Other options: Nullifying Orb is good for a small amount of free protection against magic damage, this opens up your boots choices, so that you can have Ninja Tabi most games, and it also pairs well with Last Stand because it holds you alive for longer on 30% health. The other option is Gathering Storm for +5 AD at 10 minutes, +15 AD at 20 minutes, and much more at 30 minutes+: Shyvana's abilities scale with AD so it's not bad: fun at lower elo where games can last a long time. But in higher elos, most games don't go beyond 30 minutes meaning this rune never becomes very impactful, it's a rune which is basically insignificant before 20 minutes. In a competitive game it's not a good pick, you want to have advantages from your runes before 20 minutes otherwise the enemy team will already be ahead.

These were pretty much Faker's runes in Season 8, by the way.

For something different, the Inspiration tree basically offers free gold, in the form of Magical Footwear: that's free boots at 12 minutes (sooner if you do some successful ganking) and you don't have to go back to the shop for them, that's very nice. And +10 movement speed, better than Celerity. This means you can rush your jungle item every game without worrying about boots - meaning you get the power spike from the completed jungle item sooner. The rune has about 400 gold value, the same as getting First Blood every game. The Approach Velocity rune is very interesting if you follow a build bath with some slows (blue smite, Frozen Mallet, BotRK), giving you a movement speed boost towards your slowed target - doesn't sound like much but it works extremely well in-game if you try it, Shyvana shines with high movement speed. The other choice here is 5% CDR on everything (including on summoners spells and item actives) - that's a reasonable all round choice and Shyvana's manaless nature uses it well.

For yet another rune page option, you can try Domination / Precision. Hail of Blades for astonishing duelling capability + Cheap Shot for bonus true damage if you follow a Frozen Mallet or Blue Smite build path + Ghost Poro for bonus AD + Relentless Hunter. Again Triumph + Last Stand from the Precision true. With this build rush Frozen Mallet after your jungle item, the rune build amplifies the power of that item because of Cheap Shot.

Since patch 9.8 indirectly buffed tanky junglers (from a buff to Enchantment: Cinderhulk) I am also looking for a chance to try Aftershock on Shyvana. Although Shyvana only has one immobilise, that's the knockup from her ult, I think she might be OP with this rune as it would help her to hard engage with her ulti - similar to a Malphite ult but with lower cooldown... If you have tried Aftershock please leave a comment.
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Pros and cons of the champion:
  • Shyvana can outrank other junglers in levels and gold due to her incredible farm
  • High damage for a tanky champion
  • Her damage is consistently available: not limited by mana and cooldown on Q is low. This means you can kill two or three champions in succession (see video!)
  • Takes objectives very fast
  • She is a good duellist, she can 1 v 1 anyone
  • She counters most other junglers, for jungle dominance
  • Late game she is a strong counter to bursty melee opponents like Yasuo and Riven, she can also easily handle all tanky top-laners
  • Flexible build paths, she can build full tank, bruiser, or full damage as the game develops
  • Fun nuke using her E in Dragon Form
  • One of the best URF mode champions if she follows an AP build
  • The main thing to watch is that she can't team fight successfully if her team has no CC: she will die quickly if locked down by grouped opponents
  • Easily kitable by some opponents
  • She can have bad games, if she has problems early so that she misses her normal advantage in levels and gold
  • Cannot solo carry lost games, needs evenly matched teams.
People think Shyvana is an "easy" champion to play, and so a lot of people play her casually but don't take the trouble to master her. Back in Season 6 when champion mastery levels were first introduced - so players would only be able to achieve Mastery Level 5 on their main champions - there was a statistical study of all the champions looking at win rates for players who had champion mastery level 5 compared with levels 1-4. In other words, it looked at how win rates improved for players who "mained" the champion. The study showed Shyvana was one of the most rewarding champions for the players who mastered her, with a 58.4% win rate for these players. Details here, click on Tier 5 Game Stats, Win Rate: Shyvana is #4 on the list!

Overall Shyvana's role is to:
  • out-jungle the enemy jungler
  • maintain strong objective control and map presence, she can take Dragons, Baron, Rift Herald, turrets and inhibitors very quickly
  • clean up in team fights, using a flanking or counter-initiating style
  • split push, and in general totally intimidate the enemy team with the threat of her presence.
Shyvana is such a powerful 1v1 fighter that she forces the enemy to group up if they want to deal with her. Use that to your team's advantage.

Shyvana is not a good initiator (unless you have a well co-ordinated pro team, but let's face it, you don't). She is tanky but she is not a tank because she has no CC or damage reduction abilities. If you initiate against grouped enemies without a co-ordinated team, you will die quickly and waste Shyvana's massive damage potential. Shyvana can do consistent AoE damage, so it's best for her to counter-initiate: that means going in after the enemies already blew their cooldowns. Or with a co-ordinated team, you all go in together and the opponents have a choice: focus Shyvana while taking damage from your mid and ADC, or focus those other damage dealers while Shyvana's AoE shreds the whole team.

Riot call Shyvana a high variance champion, meaning that some games work out very well for her, some work out badly. That's true: she can't carry a losing team, if her laners all lose lanes then the game is likely lost. But part of the 'variance' Riot are seeing is because most players play Shyvana casually, thinking she is an easy jungler to play if your main jungler was banned - and casual players are going to see varying results. As noted already, in the hands of an experienced Shyvana player, who also has the sense to pick Shyvana with a team composition to match her strengths, she has a good win rate.

She's not a flashy champion who makes amazing outplays. She rarely achieves Pentakills (I only ever had one on her, screenshot below). She may not even have the highest kills on your team. But what she does do, is win games, because she's consistently one of the best champions for taking those fixed objectives like Turrets, Inhibitors, Dragon and Baron, she can reliably kill enemy champions, and she's a force to be reckoned with in any team.

I've only ever achieved one Pentakill with Shyvana, but you can find a few examples on Youtube: it's certainly possible near the end of the game if you've had a good game. (Theoretically, you could kill a whole enemy team at once with one of your AoE abilities, but they'd all need to be on low health first from your allies.)

I often add to this guide or update it with small tweaks (for example rune changes), so you might want to check for updates from time to time. It's a long guide with a lot to read: I suggest you look at the parts you find interesting, try it out in a game, and come back to read the rest if you want a deeper understanding of the champion.

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Season 10 Preview

The meta for junglers changed quite a bit during Season 9, and it looks like Season 10 is going to change it again. In Season 9, the slow jungle camp spawns and some small nerfs to jungler XP (for example, rift scuttlers spawning later) meant that most jungler players preferred to play strong ganking junglers, also looking to catch some lane XP while they are ganking. Off-meta junglers with good CC abilities became viable for this reason (Blitzcrank jungle anyone?) and this also helped late-game team compositions with plenty of chained CC. Shyvana did not fit easily into that meta so she lost popularity in Season 9 and become one of the rarely played champions, with most high-elo players playing AP Shyvana (a fun approach, but requires good skill). At the same time, one of Shyvana's core strategies, counter-jungling, became very powerful in Season 9 - it was a great way to close down an opponent jungler who is spending most of his time ganking. Therefore Shyvana has always been a viable pick.

(Shyvana is also a very useful champion in Riot's new game Teamfight Tactics, but that's a totally different game to standard League of Legends so we can't cover it in this guide.)

Season 10 looks like it is going to liven things up for Shyvana, because Riot have made huge changes to dragons to make them have a higher impact on the game, and an even more important strategic objective. The death of the second drake (leading to spawning of the third drake) will have unique effects on the map - this is 'Rise of the Elements'. Most importantly, the game will give huge bonuses to the first team to take four dragons, which should translate into an unstoppable win in many games. Shyvana has excellent dragon control and is normally able to take more drakes than her opponent jungler, so Shyvana gives a team a strong strategic advantage now (though it won't be seen until the late game).

Season 10 has also indirectly buffed all farming junglers compared with early ganking junglers, because the jungle timings have changed. So although the first full clear of the jungle will now give even less XP than in previous seasons (only just enough to bring a jungler to level 3) the second jungle camps spawn faster (2 minutes instead of 2 minutes 30) so a farming jungler can take advantage of that to hit level 6 sooner. In effect, the ganking junglers reach level 3 later than before, and the farming junglers can get ahead during levels 4-6. This will change the balance of which champions are strongest in the jungle, and Shyvana is likely to be back somewhere close to the top. Let's see...

These XP changes also mean that you can seriously set back your jungle opponent if you can steal one of their camps in their first rotation: that will delay them reaching level 3. Shyvana is good at counter-jungling at any level, so this remains a strong strategy for her.

Quite a few of the damage items have changed or been removed, details in the Items sections later in this guide.
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Suggested Build Path

This Bloodrazor build is strong all game: more than half of games will not reach six full items.
  • Start Hunter's Machete + Refillable Potion
  • Route: Red Buff (with leash) - Wolves* - Gromp - Blue Buff* and then take a Rift Scuttler and gank a lane or invade if you have enough health
  • Back to buy two Daggers, also buy a Hunter's Talisman if possible as that will strengthen your W and provide more sustain. Always buy a Control Ward if you have enough gold
  • Since Patch 8.8 you can buy an Oracle Lens early, this is very good for an invading jungler like Shyvana, and think of all the +30 gold from ward clearing
  • Clear two more camps: Raptors - Krugs and any Rift Scuttlers which are alive
  • Now is a good time to counter-jungle or possibly to gank - none of your camps is up, you have level 4, the enemy bot lane and jungler are probably still level 3. You can also take Dragon any time you see the enemy jungler on the top side of the map.
  • Continue taking camps efficiently, to reach levels 5 and 6
  • Back for Recurve Bow - if you have gold also upgrade your jungle item to Stalker's Blade
  • You could buy a Long Sword here: Recurve Bow + Long Sword + Refillable Potion is a good item set at level 5 for ganking or taking Dragon
  • Rush to complete Enchantment: Bloodrazor for a power spike in damage and clear speed
  • Also look to build Tier 2 boots - normally Ninja Tabi
  • It's best to complete Titanic Hydra next, unless you are behind and need defence early (delaying Titanic Hydra gives you a weaker mid game)
  • Add a Cloth Armor or Null-Magic Mantle as needed depending on opponents
You are looking to have Stalker's Blade - Bloodrazor + Titanic Hydra + tier 2 boots by around 18 minutes as Shyvana's basic item set, and then you should be looking at making a start on your defensive items.

In the 'Lower Cost Build', start with Titanic Hydra first, the jungle item (taken second in this case) is Cinderhulk followed by an armor item, Wit's End against magic damage and finished with Blade of the Ruined King to keep your damage relevant in the late game, also good for Baron and the Elder Dragon. If your game goes well you can reach this full build by around 35 minutes. Switch boots to Ninja Tabi once the laning phase is over, those are normally the best late game boots.

Also look at adapting your build to the game.

General build approach

I like to build a good amount of damage on Shyvana. With the builds here, it's possible to do that and also have strong defences. The Season 7 re-work and the Season 8 runes have made damage builds even stronger.

People think Shyvana is a "tank", but she's really not. She is tanky which makes her a very robust fighter, but she has no special tank abilities and so she cannot absorb much damage for her carries without dying herself (and we don't want that!) Her kit is all damage focused.

Similar to Garen, the best way to play Shyvana is as a hyper bruiser, robustly dealing out damage that the enemy team are forced to group up if they want to stop her. So you can establish dominance and control the game. Shyvana can either anchor her team in 5 v 5 fights, or else split push and divide the enemy team: Shyvana with a damage build can take objectives extremely quickly if not stopped, and it usually takes two or three champions to stop her.

General build tips
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This match-ups section is pitched around Silver and low Gold tiers, which covers the majority of League of Legends players. (If you are Platinum or higher, you may have a different idea of which enemy champions are strongest...) The jungle opponent is not very relevant to Shyvana because no enemy jungler really counters her, so statistics on CounterStats and LolKing about which champion "counters" her are not very meaningful: if Shyvana is having a hard game it's usually because of an enemy ADC or other laner, not the enemy jungler.

Junglers: the even match-ups
These high damage, high sustain melee junglers fight similarly to Shyvana, meaning you can expect duels. You will lose an early duel against Udyr or Warwick, unless you have an advantage like higher health or Ignite, so counter-jungling those two early is not a good idea. Hecarim is always going to be faster than you. As the game continues you should be able to out-farm them and out-scale them, but you will need armor items if they are doing well. Xin Zhao is strong in the early game: and if he gets fed then, similar to Jax, you will need a high damage build and Exhaust to out-duel him (don't engage Xin Zhao when he has stacks on Guinsoo's, if he takes a Bloodrazor + Guinsoo's + BotRK build he can easily kill you: Thornmail is important defence against his healing from his passive and BotRK and this may be your only build which can beat him in a solo fight). Look at taking Skirmisher's Sabre against these opponents, especially Xin Zhao (he will probably use it on you). Bramble Vest and later Thornmail are near-essential against Warwick's healing.

Junglers: the gap closers
These popular melee junglers have strong gap closers. They can be a major problem for your laners. But you can fight them successfully 1 v 1, they have lower damage than you (except Vi: Vi has higher damage at levels 2-8) and are also squishier than you. They mostly lack sustain, giving them a hard time in their earliest jungle clears (again except Vi, she was buffed in season 8 to give her stronger clears). It's therefore a good idea to counter-jungle these at level 2 or level 3 and neutralise them, that also takes the pressure off your lanes. If caught in Jarvan IV's Cataclysm, just kill him: you can also R into the circle if he uses it on your ally :). The same applies for Camille's Hextech Ultimatum.

Junglers: complete pains to deal with
Junglers with jukes, tricks and invisibility are a pain to deal with all game. They can catch your laners, and you, by surprise. They are probably ganking your lanes more than you are ganking theirs, especially before level 6. They can and will also try to counter-jungle you. This type of jungler is difficult for you to solo kill as they have so many escapes. Early game, if you can steal their first Blue Buff you can slow them down as they need mana to gank and farm (not Lee Sin: but he is immobile early before he has Tracker's Knife). Mid game, your best strategy is to counter-gank after they have blown cooldowns ganking your ally. Late game, most of these champions fall off in strength, unless very fed in which case teamwork will be needed to deal with them. Oracle Lens is a strong counter to Shaco. Against Evelynn, standard stealth wards in brush are useless as she'll be invisible as she roams around the map, but a stealth ward next to her jungle camps will show you where she is on her route: she becomes visible whenever she takes damage. When she shows up, you really want to have enough damage to burst her down in one shot. Frozen Mallet is effective against Shaco and Lee, giving you health to survive their dive, and then letting you stick to them when they try to escape. Kayn is very elusive - can escape through any wall - and has very high sustain with the Rhaast passive, you'd better have high armor plus high damage, and if he ults onto you, you need to immediately walk towards a place that's dangerous for him when he comes out of his ult, like a turret or your allies (and if you're in Dragon Form, land an E on yourself so he comes out into a nice patch of flame).

Junglers: assassins
These aggressive jungle assassins are worrying for your laners, but they are generally squishy and easy to kill if you can catch them alone (be careful of Kha'Zix at levels 6-7 when he has Enchantment: Warrior, he does more damage than you for a short time). It's important to counter-jungle these early before they start to snowball, your goal is to get them under-levelled and behind in gold, so that they are not really a threat to anyone on your team. See this video example of a Kha'Zix takedown at level 2. You really want to kill them early, and not just steal their farm as when they start ganking they will rely on kills more than farm, so think about routes they will be taking when ganking your lanes - for example tri-brush. Ward the enemy jungle so that everyone knows where they are. Also steal their blue and red buffs, and maybe try ambushing them in the river, in their early jungle clears they use Rift Scuttlers to heal from so they can be found low in the river if you can get the timing right. If these guys start to snowball, your whole team is going to have a tough game: these champions are nightmares if fed - but they can do nothing much if behind. Again, Frozen Mallet is effective against all these, giving you health to survive their burst, and then letting you and your team stick to them when they try to escape. Kha'Zix was recently buffed (patch 9.15) and is likely to be played more.

Junglers: AP
In older seasons these AP junglers were often in the top 5 junglers in the game. Elise and Nidalee had some come-back in mid-season 8, the others are rarely played now in the jungle. Although these all do damage, even at low level, Shyvana does more. You can counter them either by fighting them directly, or by farming harder and stealing their jungle. If you are planning to counter-jungle, early magic resist - for example from building a Null Magic Mantle before completing Titanic Hydra - can be a good idea, depending on the rest of the enemy team composition. It's essential to dodge Nidalee's spears, which is difficult for Shyvana in dragon form with her large hitbox. Elise's Cocoon can also be a problem if you don't dodge it, you just have to tough it out and fight her when the stun wears off.

Junglers: Off-meta AP
Season 8 and Season 9 have improved the viability of several "off-meta" picks in the jungle, especially because changes to Runic Echoes mean that casters in the jungle should never run out of mana - the jungle is actually a better place to be for a mana-hungry champion like Karthus. Morgana can be an effective jungler (with fast clears and useful ganks if she lands her Q), though not very mobile. Karthus is very effective against jungle camps - he can clear almost as fast as Shyvana which most people don't expect, and again he can do a reasonable gank with his gate, and of course there is the global pressure of his ult. Brand is similar, I've played him myself in the jungle a few times: he can spam his abilities with the amount of mana a jungler has. Shyvana counters Morgana, Zyra, Karthus and Brand hard: all are immobile and have no defence against Shyvana's damage, and if she invades their jungle then they will have to concede camps. So buy a small amount of MR and then go counter-jungle and counter-gank them hard and show them what a proper jungler can do.

Junglers: ranged
With these junglers the enemy team basically has two ADCs, and late game two ADCs are going to be a problem for Shyvana, so you want to win these games early. Like ADCs in lane, these champions don't do much damage early with their basic attacks, so that's when you want to be fighting them. Once they start to have items do not engage directly unless your ultimate is up. Twitch is a strong early ganker due to his stealth but he's weak when he's farming jungle camps (and some of his abilities will be on cooldown when he's farming). The ranged junglers are usually very squishy if you can catch them, so go kill them and show them who is boss! An early Cloth Armor is helpful, and Blue Smite to reduce their ability to kite you. Graves was recently buffed and is likely to be seen more in the end of Season 9. Kindred's Wolf mark will show up on jungle camps randomly, giving Kindred an extra incentive to take those camps so those are good places to go look for her/them - instead of simple stealing the camp, wait there and kill her/them. If a ranged jungler builds Enchantment: Bloodrazor and Guinsoo's Rageblade, then Randuin's Omen or Thornmail are important to slow down their attacks: and as with other ranged-but-squishy opponents, you want to dive them with R and kill them quickly instead of giving them time to kite you. Shyvana can have good results building full tank (Randuin's Omen + Thornmail + Ninja Tabi + Cinderhulk) against Twitch.

Junglers: tanky
They have slow clears, but become heavily tanky as the game proceeds, and Enchantment: Cinderhulk was buffed in Patch 9.8 so expect to see a lot more of these. Their strong crowd control when ganking can earn kills for their team: but when the crowd control is on cooldown they are basic melee champions with unimpressive damage and low mobility. This type of champion is an ideal target for counter-ganking. You can also weaken them just by stealing their jungle camps. Do not attempt to duel with Skarner near his spires. The spire colours can give you information about where he is on the mini-map, so make use of that. Volibear does high damage with his full combo but has low mobility once his Q is on cooldown - it's best to wait until after he throws you, then activate your W and run (his high damage W is available only after he hits you three times, so run before the third hit). Sejuani is hard for you to fight and a good Sejuani can do a lot against your laners too, might now be worth banning. An early Enchantment: Bloodrazor combined with a Wit's End is a strong help against these dangerous tanks, and definitely a Blade of the Ruined King as your 6th item.

Jungling top laners
These champions, normally found in top lane, can sometimes be your jungle opponent. They are often surprisingly good, maybe they are players who main these champions in the top lane and so in the jungle role they want a champion they are comfortable with. Usually these follow a very conservative jungle route, for example half clear and gank, or full clear, because they don't have much mobility (except for Riven) or any way to get through walls. Shyvana clears faster then them, so once again instead of engaging directly (not wise early game, they are already strong at level 2 and 3 when you are not strong) your best strategy is to invade them and counter-jungle as many camps as you can, maybe even prioritise their camps over your own. Learn the spell animation for Jax Counter Strike (E), and when he activates it stop attacking for 2 seconds, just back off and wait it out. Irelia is annoyingly mobile in a lane and can stun you if you're not careful, very dangerous after she completes Trinity Force, but if you can catch her in her jungle where she has nothing to jump to then you should be able to solo-kill her. Urgot jungle is a new "off-meta" pick in Season 9: as far as I have seen he (it?) is very strong in the jungle so I guess he might be meta by the end of the season.

Junglers: easy match-ups
These junglers should be easy to deal with. Shyvana is stronger, faster and tougher than them, even when they use all abilities on you. Their movements are also fairly predictable as they are heavily mana-dependent and they really struggle in their early clears, making them easy to counter-jungle at levels 1-3: if you have the courage to walk into their jungle at level 3, you will find them at low health and low mana.

Laners: high mobility AD
These high mobility, high damage opponents often carry their whole teams. Strong in lane (depending on match-up) and their mechanics make these hard lanes for Shyvana to gank. Don't waste your time and summoner's spells chasing them pointlessly to their tower. The best is to bait them, then turn on them and use your full burst, if your laner does that too then one of you should secure a kill. Apart from that, your best strategy is to gank the other lanes and make your other laners strong. Late game, you scale harder than these opponents and can counter them. Randuin's Omen + Ninja Tabi are normally your best defences, plus health. Against Yasuo stack health more than armor (Yasuo's ultimate cancels half your armor), I recommend Frozen Mallet, and be prepared to use R to counter his tornado so that you don't get knocked up. Bramble Vest is good against Yasuo and Fiora. An early Phage gives mobility to help against their attempts to out-play you. Stay with your team later to protect them: you may be the strongest counter on your team - for example your attacks and your W are not blocked by Yasuo's Wind Wall.

Laners: high mobility AP
These high mobility, high burst opponents can also carry hard if allowed to, and deal mostly magic damage. They are extremely squishy once caught, so generally you can R on top of them, survive the burst and secure the kill. Again they are strong in lane (depending on match-up) and sometimes difficult lanes for Shyvana to gank: you need to be patient and wait for them to over-extend. Shyvana is actually one of the best counters to these champions, as most allies find them difficult to deal with, but Shyvana can. A high MR + high health build is advisable: so rush Spirit Visage.

Laners: tough duels
These top lane specialists are among the very few champions who are hard to beat in a 1 v 1 fight. They have high DPS (like Shyvana) and also some form of sustain off the damage they deal to you. And if their lane is going well, as it usually will be, then they will always be higher level than you: currently Riot made it so that it's very hard for a jungler to keep up in levels with top and mid lanes. Don't fight them solo unless you have Dragon form and it's a least an even match up in levels and items. When fighting Darius try to stay right on top of him, you take less damage from his axe near him than at maximum range. A very high damage build is better than a high defences build for dealing with all of these, Sunfire Aegis is your best defensive item here. Bramble Vest is very effective against these opponents, build one immediately after Titanic Hydra against these opponents, it is not too costly. Look at taking Skirmisher's Sabre as well, and Exhaust, and Phantom Dancer, and use everything you have on them. Even then you might need some additional help, like a Gankplank ult or a Teemo shroom or a Soraka heal to win these fights.

Laners: crowd control mages
Shyvana depends on her own mobility to do damage and to survive, so roots are her biggest fear. Put simply, you need to dodge the skillshots from these champions and not walk into their ground-based CC (but Ryze's Rune Prison is a targeted ability which cannot be dodged). It's not a good idea to chase these champions into an unwarded area trying to secure a kill, your movement path is very predictable when you are chasing, and it's likely their teammates will come to help. You can make use of R or a summoner's spell or brush to close the gap and surprise them, otherwise just be patient and wait for them to miss a skillshot (or run out of mana) and then take the kill. All are extremely squishy, you should be able to kill with a single combo. Avoid initiating team fights against these champions as you will die: instead be smarter and flank them. Mercurial Scimitar is your friend, and Mercury's Treads and the Legend: Tenacity, and if there are two of these (or other long-duration hard CC) on the enemy team, I would even take Cleanse as my summoner - it has a lower cooldown than Flash.

The channelers
These champions can wreck your whole team with their channeled ultimates. If you notice them activating the ultimate - which can also be anticipated from positioning (Katarina will leap into the center of your team, Nunu will walk in to the center, Miss Fortune will stop at a good distance, and Karthus will retreat) - then you can be a hero and save your team with a well-timed R. The trick is to wait for them to start channeling then immediately dive towards the damage instead of running away. Knock back the enemy with your R and you will stop the channeling and the damage, you also push that enemy further away from the rest of your team. Shyvana is one of the best champions to do this, because her R has 850 range, it's fairly easy to land (a channeler won't be moving) and she is tanky enough to go in towards the damage. It works especially well against Katarina.

Laners: the kiters
All these champions can kite you for long enough to kill you if you chase them, even when you have high movement speed and W proccing. It's because they have slows or knockbacks which keep you from reaching them for a long time: Teemo, Lulu and Quinn can also disable you from attacking if you can catch up to them (Teemo's blind also disables Shyvana's Q). Even so, these champions are generally easy to beat if you have an ally with you, because they are super-squishy. Instead of trying to chase them alone - you can't - either wait for an ally with CC, or be patient until your Fury bar is 100% then you can usually close the gap and deal with them: if you R and land on top of them, they can't kite that. Look at Ninja Tabi against Caitlyn, Quinn and Kindred, Boots of Swiftness against Ashe, Mercury's Treads against Teemo and Lulu.

Laners: the most dangerous ADCs
These complex ADCs scale hard into the late game. They combine good mechanics with high damage abilities if they can apply their full burst to you. They are squishy but all have some form of escape, making them hard for Shyvana to catch and kill. They are also problematic for your allies, so they often get fed. A gank in these lanes is risky and can result in a double kill for the enemy, on the other hand you do need to gank to stop them from snowballing hard, so it's a question of timing the gank well for when your lane allies have plenty of health and mana. Randuin's Omen + Ninja Tabi are your best defence, and high health generally, possibly also Thornmail. Oracle Lens or Skirmisher's Sabre can help to counter Vayne and Twitch invisibility. With her self-peel from Condemn, Vayne is probably Shyvana's hardest counter, I usually look to ban Vayne unless my team wants her.

Laners: the classic ADCs
These ADCs do predominantly physical damage and will follow a crit striking build: Infinity Edge, Statikk Shiv, Berserker's Greaves etc. They lack power before they have completed items, so use Tab to check what they have before engaging. You really need to gank them before they get too far ahead. Once they have the completed items, a Ninja Tabi + Thornmail combination is your essential defence: Thornmail is very effective against this type of ADC, it blocks their healing if they have followed a lifesteal build with The Bloodthirster (check their items) - some Jinxes can even build Bloodthirster and BotRK.

Laners: the ability ADCs
It's important to understand the difference between these ADCs and the previous group. These ADCs do more damage with their abilities than with basic attacks, and deal mixed physical and magic damage. Therefore they do not always follow a full crit striking build, and they do not usually buy lifesteal. They are weak when low on mana, so your team will not thank you if you let them kill you when you have blue buff. They are generally easy opponents for Shyvana to deal with after level 6 unless they are backed up by their whole team. Any build which stacks health and some armor should be defensive enough, for example Dead Man's Plate. Thornmail is not strong against these.

Laners: the highest damage mages
These mages all deal out tons of damage onto you if you let them, and most of them can lock you in place while they do it. Staying mobile is the key to avoiding the most damaging abilities, and make sure you respect these champions' damage when their ultimate is up. As with other carries, they are squishy as soon as you can catch them, so just buy enough MR to survive the burst and then you can deal with them. Do not group up close to team-mates against Brand when he has his ult: he has higher damage if more opponents are grouped so that his damage bounces.

Laners: the escape artists
These top lane / mid lane mages (some of them can also jungle) each have their own special fighting style, and have high win rates in the hands of good players. What all have in common is that even when they look like easy kills, they can escape or kill you instead with high burst damage - Vladimir and Kennen can run away faster than Shyvana can catch them, Aurelion Sol locks you and bops you as you take a predictable path coming in to him. Ekko is especially a pain if he builds tank. All these are strong even without stacking AP - their utility does not depend on AP. Shyvana will not be able to catch them early, later in the game you can deal with them if you have high MR or if you work with team-mates.

Laners: tanky CC
The special danger from these laners is their hooks and grabs, which can move you into a place where you definitely don't want to be - do not fight them near turrets. Shyvana is an easy target for hooks and grabs due to her large body size in dragon form, also because Shyvana tends to position aggressively in the front line. Shyvana has to approach within range of these abilities if she wants to do damage. You can often anticipate when the opponent is going to use the ability from his positioning. And you can see the skillshots from Blitzcrank, Thresh and Nautilus and dodge them. Edge of Night or a fast-reacting Morgana may occasionally save you. Apart from that, the best strategy is to stay together with your team, and if you get pulled (or thrown) into the enemy team, think of it as a free initiation which you didn't even have to use R for... As with other tanks, Blade of the Ruined King helps to take these down quickly - and Wit's End is strong against Singed.
These four champions have unescapable abilities which can be quite nasty. Sylas has the tilting ability to steal other champion's ults. Shyvana is not immune to this - if he steals her ult he takes on Dragon Form and his Q, W and E also become Shyvana's Dragon Form Q, W and E. Sounds overpowered? It's not really, because without Shyvana's stats and damage items, he can't do much with it, and is easily killable in a 1v1 against a real Shyvana. His best strat is to play like AP Shyvana, for as long as he can. The ult on him lasts about the same length of time as a true Shyvana's ult - his mana bar goes down like Shyvana's Fury bar but in his case it stays blue not red. Pyke and Urgot can both deal unescapable true damage with their ults so watch your health bar, they can only do it if you are low on health. Mordekaiser is tough to take down, you really need two anti-tank items like Bloodrazor and Guinsoo's Rageblade if he has been allowed to get ahead, and he will be aiming to contest every dragon.

Improving your match-up knowledge

Which champions to ban in ranked?

Shyvana does not have any really hard counters, and she successfully counters some of the other champions who are considered to be strong. Overall I would pick out Vayne, Quinn, Caitlyn, Ashe and Graves as the opponents who generally give Shyvana herself the most problems, and Kaisa and Teemo - there's a theme here, all these are effective kiters. It's because each has self-peel abilities which make it hard for Shyvana to stick to them and apply her melee attacks for long enough to bring them down. Vayne is the worst late game ADC for a bruiser champion like Shyvana because Vayne does so much % health damage and her knockback means she can easily kill you if you're not careful, she also has enough mobility that she's problematic to gank early. Janna is a difficult enemy support. Here was a Valkrin game where he is against Graves, Caitlyn, Janna all in the same game, it's not really possible for a Shyvana to overcome that. The new pre-Season 10 champion, Senna, also has self-peel and late-game scaling and is going to be a problem for similar reasons: people are still figuring out where to play her, my view is she's most powerful in the Support role paired with an ADC who can chain CC with her, so Caitlyn + Senna or Jhin + Senna are strong pairings.

So you can look at banning one of those champions, when it comes to your choice about which champion to ban in a ranked game. Popular bans will probably be being banned by your teammates, so you can leave them to others. At high elo, if you are picking early, I suggest banning Vayne - even after all the changes in bot lane, she is still a champion with a terrifying late game and I think Vayne mains will still be taking her against tanky team compositions such as you will hopefully have when you play Shyvana. But if you are last pick, it's likely the enemy team will pick a different ADC because they won't know you take Shyvana, so in this case you can ban a different problem champion. At low elo, your allies will usually want to ban the hypercarry champions like Zed, Yasuo and Master Yi and that's OK, even though these are mainly squishy and little threat to Shyvana herself (Shyvana is a good counter to most of them), it's important to keep your lanes safe. Someone who mains these is usually hard for your laners to beat in low elo, and may be climbing ranked hard, possibly even a booster. For your own ban at low elo, you can ban one of the strong early junglers who scares your allies while being hard for you to counter-gank early, so maybe Vi, Twitch, Nocturne or Xin Zhao. Or just ban Kayle: at low elo, Kayle will usually stomp the game after level 11, because your allies don't know how to stop her.

It should not be necessary for a team planning on having Shyvana as their jungler to ban assassin type junglers like Kha'Zix and Rengar. Shyvana should be able to handle them and counter-jungle them fairly easily.

For other ban ideas, you can look at banning more of the champions who specifically counter your laners, so talk to your laners about who they want banned. Shyvana will have a tough game if one of her lanes loses lane hard, because she does not have time to be babysitting lanes. You want your allies to be safe and win lane.

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Team Composition

As a versatile jungler, Shyvana makes a good pairing with most allies. She doesn't depend on specific team compositions to do well, except to say that (as for any team in League of Legends) it's important to make sure that there is a good amount of CC on your team overall. If following a high damage build then ideally you also want some other person on your team to be building tanky, unless your team has a very high amount of CC.

If there is no tank on your team, then your team may expect you to be the tank, but that's not going to work without CC. For example, this would be a terrible team:

This team would be able to achieve nothing in a 5 v 5 team fight, and by late game your Kalista, Fiora, Vel'Koz would be complaining and saying "why don't you tank for us". But Shyvana is not a tank because she lacks the CC or damage reduction abilities which true tanks have. Shyvana is a heavy bruiser, similar to Garen: she deals out a large amount of damage and is difficult to stop 1 v 1, but she will still be melted if she is focused.

In contrast, this would be an excellent team:

So there's a very large amount of CC, and also all the lanes are safe laners. Shyvana is not the only tanky champion, there's a very solid front line for your Jinx. Other hard CC supports like Sona, Blitzcrank, Thresh, Nautilus, Braum, Alistar will also work well here, for similar reasons. Malphite support is a very good ally for Shyvana.

More on team composition

Shyvana pairs especially well with champions listed below. Look at your own game history and analyse them: chances are that your wins were when you had some of these on your team. Overall it's fairly simple: Shyvana does not have good CC, but she does great if she works with an ally who has CC.

Good single target CC
These champions (and quite a few others - these are just some examples) have strong roots or slows which apply to a single enemy. This is strong in early laning - your ganks should result in kills (make sure to gank these lanes plenty!) For example if you have a good Ahri mid, that is an easy lane for you to gank: she can stop the mid-lane opponent from retreating under tower. Later, if Shyvana roams the map with one of these champions, together you should be able to catch and kill out of position opponents. Shyvana partners especially well with Lux and Jinx and Morgana, being a meatshield to protect them as well as dealing out high damage of her own. Your only problem is going to be figuring out who should take the kills!

Area of effect hard CC
These champions have powerful stuns or disables which affect all enemies in an area. The abilities all work in different ways, but from Shyvana's perspective the effect is the same: your enemies are stationary, vulnerable, and cannot attack, for a good length of time - most of these abilities last 2 seconds or longer. Your ally should apply the CC at the same time as Shyvana initiates on grouped enemies - or you can initiate when you see the CC being applied. These allies are also great for winning smaller skirmishes, opponents should not be able to escape the two of you.

Area of effect disruption
These champions have powerful ultimates and combos which, if released onto grouped enemies, will stun, slow, knock up or disable them and also do widespread damage. Timed well alongside a dive or other initiation from Shyvana, your team should be able to dominate any team fight. These allies are great for winning 5 v 5 fights. As with other strong allies, timing is everything: Shyvana should not initiate when these allies are out of position or key abilities are on cooldown.

Area of effect slow
The long-lasting, strong slows which these champions can apply in a large area of effect - up to 60% slow - can prevent enemy ADCs and other squishies from using their normal kiting mechanics to damage Shyvana, and can expose all the enemies to great risk from the combination of Shyvana diving them and an ADC ulting. This is useful in full 5v5 team fights, and in mid game skirmishes which is when Shyvana is at her strongest relative to her opponents.

Strong early laners
These top laners can usually be relied on to win their lane before level 6 - some are so strong that they can take a double kill if the enemy jungler attempts to gank them early. This is good for Shyvana, it means one less lane for her to worry about. Once Pantheon has his ultimate he can also roam more, for double-ganks or extra pressure at Dragon or other objectives.

Wombo combos
These champions have specific abilities which hugely amplify Shyvana's power. Malphite has an outstanding engage, if Shyvana follows that up with her own engage (safer for her to go in second) there should be two or three dead enemies. If Orianna puts her ball on Shyvana and Shyvana uses R, the ball will damage all enemies in Shyvana's flight path (it's also a small shield for Shyvana) - Orianna's ultimate is also very strong paired with a Shyvana who is in position to do wide area damage. Blitzcrank, obviously, picks enemies one by one for Shyvana to kill at melee range, he is also great to have beside you in a team fight and his knock up can be important, and your bot lane should be fairly safe. Kayle can make Shyvana invulnerable for 2.5 seconds: if done correctly that sends a great big ball of flame, dealing massive area of effect damage, into the middle of the enemy team: it's important for your Kayle to understand that Shyvana is the best ally to use her ult on.

Tanks with CC
If there's an ally following a full tank build on your team, that's great for Shyvana because then she does not need to build so defensively and she can roam more instead of having to protect your back line. You really want the tank always to be buying Frozen Heart by the way, that's an extremely important item in team fights. These tanky champions are all good because they bring a nice amount of CC with them, as well as solid survivability.

Tanky top laners
These tanky top laners do a high amount of damage once they get going. They respond especially well to early ganks: it's usually hard for them to get pre-level 6 kills, but they can survive: if you arrive to change the balance of power in the lane, give them a kill, they reach level 6 sooner and start to snowball. They are also tanky so that Shyvana does not have to be. Late game, any enemy team is going to find a Nasus + Shyvana combination fairly impossible to stop. The silences from Garen and Cho'Gath are useful in a team fight, again allowing the Shyvana to do what she does best and go into the heart of the enemy team.

The multi-killers
These hyper-carries are relatively squishy, but have extremely high burst damage. They can take down three or more opponents using a single ability, especially if the opponents are already partly damaged. As long as your ally is skilled and understands Shyvana too, you can make a very effective team together. So Shyvana initiates with her R, and is immediately focused, your ally goes in just after. It's risky for Shyvana: you might die in the process, but your team is now 3 for 1 in that fight, and your ally couldn't have done that by himself.

The shielders
If these champions are paying attention and shielding Shyvana as she goes into fights, it makes for a very powerful team. Shyvana needs to survive for long enough to deal out her high AoE damage, and the shield helps her to do it. A 500 hp shield on her is also enhanced by her high armor and MR, and natural health underneath it, so it will take more damage than normal to get through the shield, and even if the opponents get through the shield they can't quickly kill Shyvana. One problem may be convincing your ally that you do enough damage to be worth shielding, as a lot of players think that Shyvana is a tank: but if Shyvana is first to engage she really needs a shield.

Nami - the best support!

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Shyvana Strategy

Shyvana's power is based on speed: so she clears camps fast, she moves fast, she takes Baron and Dragon fast, she kills fast, and she takes down towers fast. She earns gold fast in the early and mid-game. As long as she's ahead in levels, she will have a good game. The recommended builds here are designed to allow you to snowball off that.

Shyvana is quite an easy champion to learn in terms of her actual abilities. Her mechanics work very smoothly - her attacks are fast and none of her abilities has a long casting animation (W is instant). But to play her well calls for excellent strategic decision-making, map awareness and understanding of your own and enemy champions. Often you can play her remarkably aggressively, but sometimes you need to hang back and wait for your allies. Until you are experienced it can be hard to know which to do. So Shyvana has a high skill cap in terms of your game knowledge and understanding of team compositions - she benefits from good "shot-calling".

Shyvana's game will - of course - depend partly on the skill and quality of her lane allies and how well matched they are to their lane opponents. If your lanes need a lot of help, then Shyvana will have a weak game because time spent in a lane means a loss of gold and XP for Shyvana, even worse if she comes to help out in a counter-gank and dies. If your lanes are safe and steady, or winning lane without any help (thank you, all you Darius tops) then Shyvana can get on with with what she does best, taking efficient jungle routes so that she only ganks lanes when she is passing by.

Shyvana's best strategy early is to kill the enemy jungler 1v1. That takes the pressure off all your lanes without you needing to spend actual time in lane. It's also a big psychological advantage for your team, they will be thinking "our jungler better than the enemy jungler" - just the same way you want to see your allies winning lane. It helps to establish jungle dominance if the enemy jungler is a little bit afraid of you, and it's very easy to steal their camps when they are dead.

Shyvana in competitive matches

Back in Season 5, Shyvana was rarely seen in the LCS or other competitive play. Most competitive players took one of these 5 junglers: Gragas, Rek'Sai, Elise, Lee Sin or Nidalee. However, Cloud 9's returning captain Hai used Shyvana with a Devourer build in several LCS NA Summer 2015 matches. As is now history, Cloud 9 won the Regional Qualifiers to gain a place in the LCS World Championship for the third consecutive year. The takeaway: when it really counts, Shyvana is the champion you want in your jungle. She's also the only jungle champion ever to achieve an 80% win rate in the LCS... in 2015 she was only played in those 5 games and Hai won 4 out of 5 of them. (This is not counting LCS games where she was played in top lane.)

Why damage and not full tank?

Shyvana is a versatile champion with many different ways to build her, from full tank, to full damage, or anything in between (there are also AP builds and hybrid builds involving some AP: these are normally troll builds). You can win with a full tank build if you have a team filled with carries, but it only works if you have a well-coordinated team. In solo queue I do not recommend it, and going full tank is wasting Shyvana's potential to semi-carry a game.
  • Shyvana has good defensive stats naturally.
  • Her kit allows for huge damage with 3 offence items (normally Bloodrazor, Titanic Hydra and BotRK).
  • She moves fast, so if she has high damage she can apply a lot of map pressure: this wins games.
  • Her main problem is that as a melee + AoE damage champion she needs to get close to enemies to do damage: but that puts her at risk even if she is full tank.
A high damage build gives Shyvana such strong damage that she becomes formidable 1 v 1 and 1 v 2. If Shyvana is carrying, it can become impossible for the enemy team to deal with her unless they can bait her into a 1 v 3 or worse.

To maximise the potential of the high damage builds you might need to play Shyvana a little differently if you followed another build before. High movement speed and chainable slows from item actives allow her to stick to targets. It's important to be hitting opponents with those basic attacks and Qs, so you have to go in hard.

Without items, Shyvana does around 50/50 physical and magic damage, because her W, E and R abilities all do magic damage. But her melee attacks (including Q) do mainly physical damage. And her melee attacks do much higher damage than her abilities, once you have items. If you follow the builds recommended here and your end-game statistics do not show at least 60% of your damage to champions as being physical damage, it's a sign that you are probably not hitting opponents with enough basic attacks and Qs, and so not yet getting best advantage from the build.

Notes for allies

If you are Shyvana's ally here are some slightly tongue-in-cheek pointers to help you two play effectively together:
  • She does not need a leash at the first jungle camp, but if you give her one she'll be faster so can do useful stuff sooner
  • If she's not ganking your lane, it's probably because you have a high mobility opponent who can easily escape (e.g. Yasuo, Riven, Fizz): deal with it and ask an allied laner for help
  • She can solo Dragon, she does not need help unless she asks for it. If you come to 'help' at Dragon, you'll probably bring enemies with you - not good! If you do that, your job is to keep the enemies occupied while Shyvana finishes Dragon
  • If Shyvana goes all-in on the enemy, please have the smarts to go in at the same time with her: she's tanking the damage for you so you can take some easy kills
  • If you're Kayle please shield the Shyvana and not your other ally in a team fight. In the 2.5 seconds that your shield lasts, Shyvana will do way more damage to grouped enemies than any other champion can. But she needs to risk herself to do it: although she has a tough exterior, she's a dragon-girl and quite vulnerable!
  • If Shyvana is roaming solo, don't ping her to fall back: if enemies go for her, she can comfortably escape using her R, though maybe she wants the enemies to come for her so she can kill 2 of them.
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Your passive Dragonborn gives you bonus armor and MR. +5 at level 1, then +5 more for every dragon taken by you or your team. This makes it a good idea for Shyvana to take a dragon as early as possible, even before level 6 if there is an opportunity. Each dragon taken is worth about 300 extra gold to Shyvana in terms of the free resistances it gives her, on top of the value of the dragon buff for your whole team.

Your Q, Twin Bite, is essentially two basic attacks at the same time (the second one heavily de-buffed at ability levels 1-4). Both attacks fully apply on-hit effects. It also works as an auto-attack timer reset, so you want to auto-attack then quickly press Q for a second+third hit. Pressing Q makes the attack immediately if you are in melee range of a target, unless Shyvana already started the auto-attack animation for a prior attack - in that case there will be a small wait for the attack animation to finish before the Q attack (this is actually optimal, see Tips and Tricks).

In dragon form, Q damages all opponents in front of you - similar to Ravenous Hydra - so make sure to face opponents when using it, if necessary walk around your target while fighting so you are facing in the best direction.

Season 8 nerfed the damage on this ability by approximately 10%, but it still deals all of Shyvana's on-hit damage twice. So on-hit builds are the way to go, not high AD builds.

Tips and tricks:
  • Time your Q so that you activate it when Shyvana's prior auto-attack animation starts (before the attack hits) - this will give you the quickest Q following that prior auto-attack. You can practise to get the timing right, you will also learn Shyvana's attack sounds which can help you time it without thinking about it.
  • You should always be using the auto-attack + Q combo, including when taking jungle camps.
  • Due to the attack animation, realistically it needs around 0.25 seconds to get off an auto-attack + Q combo.
  • The auto-attack + Q combo works against towers, you can take down towers very quickly with this.
  • The auto-attack + Q combo allows you to kill any trinket ward when you see it being placed, you have 1 second to kill it which is enough time for Shyvana to do that even if your reactions are not the fastest.
  • You do not need to be watching your champion fighting on-screen to activate Q, because it is not a targeted ability: you can time Q listening, or if you like, just press it whenever it comes off cooldown. This allows you to look elsewhere on the map while taking large jungle monsters or Dragon.
  • In advance of a situation where you might only have time to get off one auto-attack on an enemy - for example tower-diving, or chasing an enemy who is about to cross the barrier into his base, or Flash-auto - and you really want that auto-attack to count, you can activate Q ahead of time. Then that first auto-attack on the target will be a double attack. (You might also want to use Attack Move in these situations so that the attack happens automatically as soon as you are in range - or if you have Flash, right-click the enemy, press Q, then Flash towards them, for an immediate Q attack as soon as your Flash brings you in range.) Shyvana in human form will have a fiery glow around her hands when Q is activated in this way, which lasts until the next attack.
Critical Strikes and Q: Q is an auto-attack enhancer, and that auto-attack can critically strike like any other auto-attack. This also means the area of effect damage from Q in dragon form can crit, and the second hit from Q can also critically strike. League Wiki on the Critical Strikes page says (inaccurately) that only the first hit from Shyvana's Q can crit. The true position is that the second hit does not roll for its own crit chance but the second hit will crit if the first hit did. (Note that Shyvana's animation for a crit-striking Q is the same as her animation for a normal Q, so the only way to see a crit is to look at the damage.) Certainly, experience shows that building critical chance on Shyvana does dramatically increase the damage from your Q.

Ward clearing

Your W, Burnout is an area of effect damage over time which can be used aggressively or defensively. It gives you a movement buff, especially when just activated. It also buffs your basic attacks for as long as it is proccing. A top-lane Shyvana uses this defensively for mobility when last hitting, so moves in to last hit minions with W running and moves back out again immediately, and the enemy melee champion will try to keep out of your range while W is proccing. A jungler uses this to clear camps fast.

In dragon form, Burnout's size increases to match the increased champion size.

Tips and tricks:
  • Against high health targets make sure to attack many times while W is proccing, for example when taking a jungle camp you should wait to activate W until you are close to the camp so that you have W for the longest time while you are taking the camp (the basic attacks and Qs while W is proccing do more damage, attacks also extend the duration of Burnout up to 7 seconds).
  • When crossing the map where you do not expect to encounter enemies, use W to increase your movement speed: the boost only lasts for 3 seconds before going on cooldown (because you are not attacking), but that is still helpful.
  • Activating W does not interrupt you while moving or basic attacking so it is useful for a burst of movement speed just when coming in to gank: you want to move fast from the time you are first seen to the time you engage with the target. It takes practice to time this correctly so that you can close with the target and have Burnout still proccing while you do your crucial first auto-attack + Q combo.
  • W is not a targeted ability, so while taking jungle camps you can activate it without watching your champion on-screen, allowing you to look around elsewhere on the map.
  • W will continue damaging nearby targets even if you are crowd controlled (for example rooted or silenced), so if you are expecting to face crowd control, try to activate W before the crowd control hits. The ability activates instantly when you press the W button.
  • After activating W, you can press B to go back and your W will continue damaging nearby minions during the B countdown: doing damage with W will not interrupt the B countdown so you can save some time (but if the creeps damage you, that interrupts the countdown, so if jungling you can only do this if the creeps are almost dead).
  • Although W does not directly damage turrets, it's still a good idea to activate W when you are taking down turrets, because as long as it is proccing it buffs your basic attacks against the turret with extra on-hit damage; it also does damage to any enemy minion wave which arrives while you are taking the turret, meaning your own minion wave can survive longer.
  • Advanced: the W damage is slightly delayed. This means the final proc from W can kill an opponent after you dies, and if an enemy uses an ability to move out of the range of your W flames, they will sometimes still receive that last proc of the W damage even when they are quite far away. For example you can see this on Rek'Sai, if she tunnels to get away from you, she can sometimes take a proc of W damage when she emerges from her tunnel, if your flames were touching her when she entered the tunnel. Possibly, this is an unintended bug. It does also mean that if you came late to a fight and your W flames only just touched an enemy before he died, you probably won't get an assist - use E if you want to be sure to have an assist.

Your E, Flame Breath is a skillshot. Against minions and jungle camps, it affects every enemy it passes through. The ability does not do much damage in human form, but it marks enemies it hits and your basic attacks against marked targets (including Dragon and Baron, but not towers) will do 3.5% max health bonus magic damage on hit. % max health damage is very strong, especially against large jungle monsters and late-game enemies. Every Q now deals 7% max health bonus magic damage on top of everything else.

In Dragon Form, Flame Breath explodes where it hits (either the first champion hit, or the target location if it hits no champion directly) and deals bonus magic damage as splash damage in a small area - this means its range is larger than you think. It is an excellent nuke for a target you otherwise cannot reach, and a hugely satisfying and fun ability for this reason. (A Shyvana who uses Flash-R-E can kill a low-health target from a distance of over 2000.) At level 6, it is your main source of damage in Dragon Form and an excellent ganking tool. It creates a circle of Scorched Earth on the ground which does damage over time to enemies who stand on it (similar to Morgana's W, but smaller in size), good to throw into any team fight. Enemies taking damage from Scorched Earth are automatically marked by Flame Breath, so against non-moving targets (for example Baron and Dragon) this Scorched Earth effect extends the duration of the Flame Breath mark by 4 seconds, so that your basic attacks against that target do bonus damage for longer.

Tips and tricks:
  • I recommend you always smart-cast E, as you want to get it off quickly and instinctively.
  • E interrupts your other orders - it will pause you while moving, for the duration of the casting animation - so do not be tempted to use this if you are chasing down an opponent, using it will likely allow him to get away. But you can use it for an execute, if he's on low health.
  • For the same reason, unless dealing with a very slow-moving tank, it can be a bad idea to use E when coming in to gank, as it delays your attacking and it is more important to use the time to get off that first auto-attack + Q combo (which does way more damage than your E). Instead you save your E for ranged damage on the enemy later if he tries to escape at low health. Bear in mind that the Last Stand rune will probably be working to increase your E damage at the end of a fight.
  • If you are expecting a long fight - for example against Dragon or a tanky opponent - you normally want to use E only when you are already within melee range and ready to fight, so that the bonus damage buff from E applies to as many of your basic attacks as possible.
  • When jungling, Shyvana can use E to 'activate' camps before she arrives and draw the creeps out to save time. For example: approaching the enemy Red Buff camp, use E through the wall from the river side, and the Red Buff will walk out into the brush beside the camp so you can take him while hidden in the brush...
  • When counter-jungling as you approach a jungle camp it can be used through the wall to see whether the camp has spawned or not - listen for the sound of it striking an enemy.
  • Similarly, E can be used for brush checking: even though you can't see an enemy, you will hear a sound if the flame hits an enemy.
  • In Dragon form, if you suspect an enemy is backing in brush, throw an E into the brush and you might execute the enemy.
  • If a melee champion like Jax or Udyr or Xin Zhao wants to duel you, if you're in Dragon form try to land an E on the duelling ground, so that he has to stand on it and take the damage-over-time if he wants to continue the duel: this should be enough to cause most opponents to disengage
  • You can also use it as a disengage tool for your allies, opponents will avoid the patch and move out of it - similar to a support like Morgana or Soraka

Your R, Dragon's Descent, apart from the absolute joy of turning you into a dragon, is a very useful ultimate, one of the best in the game.
- All your other abilities are enhanced in dragon form for a large amount of AoE damage and that beautiful E
- Being in dragon form increases your champion size and increases your auto-attack range to match
- It's one of the longest gap closers and also allows you to jump most barriers - anything except the thickest part of the wall by Dragon and Baron pits
- You can use it to engage (including over walls) or to escape
- It lets you dodge hard CC if you time it right
- It does some magic damage to all enemies in its path, around 300 damage late game
- With the recommended builds, if you are attacking a lot, R is on around a 30 second cooldown (at level 16 and higher). In more detail, the cooldown is maximum 50 seconds without attacks but attacks reduce the cooldown quickly: it can even be as low as 25 seconds if you are continuously attacking with maxed out attack speed and Q.

One thing to watch is that in dragon form, Shyvana is larger, meaning enemy skillshots can hit you more easily: it really becomes very hard to dodge them, even skillshots which are normally hard to land like Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab. Of course in dragon form you can tank damage better with your increased health, but you are not invulnerable: it's not comparable to Garen's Courage or Alistar's ultimate. The increased size is one reason why you might not want to use your ultimate at the start of a fight, but instead wait until the enemies have fired off some of their skillshots first. But sometimes you actually want to be the person who tanks damage for your team.

Tips and tricks:
  • You are extremely powerful in dragon form around levels 6, 7, and 8. In mid-game from level 6 you want to develop a rhythm where you look to be ganking lanes or aggressive in some other way just when your R comes up, and you farm your jungle when R is on cooldown.
  • When casting (or smart-casting) your R you can control the range as well as the direction - pay attention to the range, always aim for a position beyond your target, because the knockback will drag the target with you a short distance. If you don't reach the target, you won't knock them back or apply the magic damage.
  • If you choose the range well, the knockback places enemies exactly where you need them to be to secure kills, i.e. you will be directly on top of them. If you are unsure about the range, one good trick is to ulti yourself and the enemy together into a wall, that's also nice because in the follow-up fight, with the wall and your own increased size, you can probably body-block the enemy from escaping.
  • In dragon form, keep attacking as long as possible (including minions or towers) to keep the dragon form active.
  • If your attack speed is high and you attack soon after activating this ultimate, you might notice that the Fury bar sometimes touches 100 again and turns red, but that does not mean you have a second activation of the ultimate - you are already in dragon form!
  • Cooldown reduction makes no difference to this ultimate as it depends only on your Fury bar. (URF mode makes no direct difference to it, but your Fury builds faster in URF mode.)
  • If your ultimate is on cooldown, you can build up Fury quickly by attacking a minion wave or jungle camps using only auto-attacks and Q - do not use W or E because those will kill the minions too fast. Fury also builds when you attack priority targets like turrets, inhibitors and Udyrs...
  • Unlike most champions in League of Legends, your opponents can easily see when your ultimate is available, from the red colour of your Fury bar. They can even see its cooldown. But sometimes they might not notice if your Fury bar is at 96 or 97 and about to become available: sometimes opponents will just give a quick glance to see if it is red or not.
  • Your flight cannot be interrupted by knock-ups and other hard CC (though it can be interrupted by total terrain barriers, for example Trundle's pillar or Anivia's ice). Your ultimate is not stopped by Jarvan IV's Cataclysm or Yasuo's Wind Wall. Good players can use Shyvana's ultimate to avoid knock-ups, grabs and other hard CC, this requires perfect timing of course.
  • Don't assume that your ultimate makes you invulnerable: you are targetable while in flight and a ranged champion can continue attacking you so you can die mid-flight.
  • The knockback from your ultimate will interrupt champions who are channeling, making this a powerful counter to Katarina and Miss Fortune, also Fiddlesticks, Galio, Karthus and a few others with dangerous ultimates: you need to dive towards the damage.
  • The knockback from your ultimate only works from the front of your dragon form model in flight - so if you ult an enemy who is right next to you (within melee range) probably there will be no knockback: it's like after you have done the initial leap to transform into dragon form, that enemy is already behind you.
  • If you are able to run past an opponent (e.g. using Flash or Ghost) a good trick is to use your ultimate to push the opponent back towards your team, for an easy kill - but for the reason given in the previous point, you need to be well past the opponent, with clear space between you, to do this
  • If you are low health and in danger of dying from poison (or haemorrage, ignite, red buff, Brand etc) your R can save you by giving you insta-health
Shyvana's Dragon's Descent has a fun synergy with Orianna's shield: if Orianna shields you by placing her ball on you, then you use your ultimate, the ball will strike all enemies in the path of your ultimate and do a lot of damage to them: the ball can hit all 5 enemies and maybe give you an immediate multi-kill.

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AP Shyvana?

There's an excellent AP Shyvana guide here by Veralion, I recommend you read that. Here is only a brief guide to AP Shyvana in the jungle.

Shyvana has good AP scaling on her E and her R. And she is a manaless champion so she can spam E, limited only by cooldowns.

For this reason there's always been the concept of an AP Shyvana build. You can even find a few older guides and videos showcasing it. But just to be clear, until Seasons 8 and 9 it was a troll build. Sure, a player could do well with an AP Shyvana build, but probably that's because the player was going to have a good game with Shyvana anyhow - maybe it was a smurf account? Broadly AP Shyvana works for the same reason that full tank Shyvana works - Shyvana has a respectable amount of damage naturally (especially against neutral objectives) even with no damage items. But if you want a strong AP-scaling champion with good objective control you should be building Cassiopeia or something.

Until now...

In Season 9 - actually ever since Patch 8.9 - Shyvana's AP scaling on E and R has been heavily buffed, so that both deal heavy damage when you can land them (with an AP build). This is nice, because Dragon-form E was already Shyvana's best ability.

If you want to try it out, apart from the AP you'll be wanting a high CDR build, with some attack speed. So basically Nashor's Tooth. Always build this.

AP Shyvana is a very viable pick in an URF-mode game, she's actually one of the strongest URF-mode champions.

With an AP build, Shyvana's positioning is different. She is aiming to use her high mobility from W (which can be almost constantly available when she has 40% CDR) to stay out of range of enemy abilities, and apply poke damage with E. If she lands an E, she can follow up by using W-AA-Q to engage at close range and finish the target off.

For team fights: R to engage and convert into dragon form maybe even before the fight starts, when you land immediately activate W for maximum mobility, and try to fire off a perfect E - if you are in the center of the enemy team (because you used E on their back line) then now is a good time to use Zhonya's Hourglass. Your W and E will do passive damage while you are in stasis, and your abilities will be off cooldown not long after the statis ends, for a second E. Follow up with W and basic attacks and Q now they are retreating.

Works well paired with a team mate with a very solid engage, Malphite probably the best. Shyvana likes to be the second person into a fight, not the first.

Good items to build are Nashor's Tooth (rush), Spellbinder for movement speed, Enchantment: Runic Echoes as your jungle item for 10% CDR and so that your basic attacks, Q and W are not completely useless. Zhonya's Hourglass for armor, Morellonomicon for magic pen. More defensively, Liandry's Torment, Rylai's Crystal Scepter or Banshee's Veil if you need MR. Rabadon's Deathcap as 5th item or to replace the jungle item, you want to finish with a full AP mage build, aiming for 800-1000 AP. All the "AP + health" items are good in this build, you can also look at Hextech Rocketbelt for its engage power.

If you play the standard Shyvana builds but you want to try out AP Shyvana, you can try it in a long game. So after you reach full build and surplus gold, you can try selling everything and switching to a full set of AP items and see how you like it.

You have to commit fully to an AP build. There's no point in half AD / half AP hybrid builds, because the play style of each build is totally different. With an AD + on-hit build, Shyvana must hard engage at melee range and kill opponents with her basic attacks and Q before they kill her, she is basically duelling all the time. With an AP build, Shyvana has to try not to engage, instead poke from range until the opponent is poked down enough (or allies are present to help) so that a full engage with R will then kill.

Quick tips for playing AP Shyvana:
  • You want max CDR, 40% or 45% with Cosmic Insight
  • Level up E first
  • Look to fight only when you have Dragon form available
  • Use R to get into position for a good E. All your damage comes from E

Here's a Patch 9.18 Korean Challenger game with a full AP Shyvana, he doesn't even take Nashor's Tooth. Some very nice Shyvana gameplay here, a lot of controlled aggression, and some very bold no-hesitation use of his ult to pick off an enemy, get into a fight or clean up.
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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Updated for Season 9: It doesn't make much difference to your clear speed of the first camp which ability you start with at level 1 - and if you have a leash, you will probably not notice any difference at all. Therefore I recommend always start W. This gives you some extra mobility, just in case of any trouble - for example if the enemy invades, or if you want to invade as a team or try to solo-steal red buff or blue buff. At level 2, your ability depends on your jungle route and you need to think about yournext two camps: for taking Gromp and Red Buff next, Q is best (so you start WQE if you started at Blue), for taking Wolves and Blue Buff next, E is best (so you start WEQ if you started at Red).

If you don't have a leash, then start Q or E at level 1 depending on whether your first camp is Red Buff (Q for physical damage), or Blue Buff (E for magical damage), and take W second - so you start QWE or EWQ.

Normally, max W first, then Q, then E. Obviously max R whenever you can. From mid game, Q is Shyvana's highest damage ability when combined with on-hit items like Bloodrazor, Titanic Hydra, BotRK or Wit's End. Unusually for a champion ability, levelling up Q increases Shyvana's AD scaling, so you want to start adding levels to Q from level 7 when you are starting to build AD.

Some Shyvana players like to max E earlier. There's not a lot of point in that, as the E damage in Dragon Form scales with champion level anyhow, even if you do not level up the ability. Currently my opinion is it is better to max Q second to reduce its cooldown, and also because Q is so weak on its lower levels. You can even take some points on Q before the fifth point on W: I often do this. When you have Bloodrazor or other on-hit items, Q becomes Shyvana's highest damage ability, and its cooldown is usually around 1-2 seconds lower than stated on the tooltip (because the cooldown is lowered with each basic attack). Therefore levelling up Q makes a big difference to how often you can actually use it.

The combos

Standard combo: This is Shyvana's standard combo:

E - W - AA - Q

That first auto-attack before the Q is important, it means you can have two attacks in quick succession by making use of the auto-attack reset on Q.

That rapid AA-Q combo will proc on-hit effects a guaranteed 3 times. Therefore it's important to apply W and E to the target before starting the combo, so that you have all the on-hit effects.

Extended combo: In mid game, once you have Titanic Hydra, you can extend the combo to:

E - W - AA - - Q - AA - AA

This extended combo applies all on-hit effects 6 times. If you are skilled, this combo can be done in around 2 seconds, so it has become Shyvana's burst. Very few opponents can survive this: for example the bonus on-hit damage from the effects of E alone will be 15% of the opponent's max health. Note that you use Q after Titanic Hydra, to cancel the short delay there can otherwise be after activating Titanic Hydra.

From level 14, when Q is maxed, you are probably ready to start another AA - Q immediately after completing this extended combo: that next auto-attack will be enough to reset the cooldown on Q. The second time around the combo will not have the Titanic Hydra item active available because that's on a longer cooldown (20 seconds).

Burst combo: For late game burst damage, when you don't have too much time to attack a target (because the target is damaging you, or is trying to escape), you can vary things for higher burst like this:

R - W - AA - Q - - E

So the attack followed by Q followed by Titanic Hydra gives essentially four basic attacks in very quick succession - it can all be done in less than one second. This will chunk away a huge amount of the enemy's health (especially if you also have BotRK and Bloodrazor) due to % health damage, and most enemies will be retreating from you at this point. Then you use Dragon Form E as a nuke to kill them.

You can, obviously, add Chilling Smite / Challenging Smite and BotRK's active into the mix, also Ignite if you have it, to do even more damage to the target and to slow the target.

Self-baiting combo: A very good mechanic for Shyvana players - especially against high damage opponents and ADCs - is the self-bait. So you initiate on an enemy, get low on health, pretend to retreat, and then if they follow you, you attack a second time with a lethal burst of damage as soon as Q and other abilities are off cooldown. Like this:

R - AA - Q - W - retreat, wait 2 seconds - E - Q -

The Q following the E gives a very quick attack - it can animation-cancel the E animation if the enemy is close to you. Best if you retreat into a bush for the 2 seconds while waiting for your Q to come up, because you can't be targeted while you are in that bush and therefore you will not take damage. If there isn't a bush nearby then Vayne, Caitlyn and other ADCs can very easily kill you while you are walking away from them.

Note that we activate Titanic Hydra after using Q - if you have BotRK, this gives more damage than using Titanic Hydra first. That's because Q applies on-hit damage twice, and with BotRK, the % current health damage is a big part of your on-hit damage. Titanic Hydra's active does such a heavy amount of damage (400-500 damage by itself) that you want that to follow your Q: if Q is first, your on-hit damage to the target will be higher because its current health will be higher at that point. (This is like Elise combos which want to do % current health damage first.) For the same reasons, with BotRK you should save nukes like Chilling Smite, Ignite and BotRK's own active - maybe even nuke from the dragon form E - until after you have done your main combo. So you chunk the target's health down with basic attacks and Q, then nuke them at the end.

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Summoner's Spells

Take Smite plus one out of these six: Ignite Flash Exhaust Ghost Heal Teleport as you prefer. Seriously, Shyvana has this amount of choice. I generally take different spells in different games according to my allies and opponents, and how well I'm playing on the day. They are all good.

Ignite and Exhaust have 10% lower cooldowns than Flash, Ghost has a much lower cooldown. If you are new to this champion take Exhaust, it's the most help in your pre-level 6 - it makes your ganks more effective, and it lets you counter jungle safely.

Against skilled opponents, Ignite, Exhaust and Heal are interesting for their deterrent effect. So an enemy jungler who is smart will generally not want to risk a 1 v 1 against Shyvana knowing she has one of these up - meaning they are less likely to try to invade your jungle early. This means you can follow your optimal jungle paths in peace, and so gain gold and XP quickly, which is what Shyvana wants to do. In contrast if you have Flash that's actually tempting an opponent to 1 v 1 you early, because a smart enemy will see forcing your Flash as a good outcome.

Flash - Exhaust - Ghost - Ignite - or Heal?

The Teleport Option

Cleanse - the rarest Summoner's Spell choice

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Items: Overview

The builds I recommend can be seen at the top of this guide. A good build involves:
  • Start and early game: attack speed
  • Mid game: on-hit damage, starting to stack health and armor
  • Late game: burst damage, solid defences
Early attack speed helps your clears and first dragon, and pairs well with the on-hit damage mid game. Late game you need to be more bursty, because you may only have enough time to hit opponents once - some specialised late game builds are shown here.

Shyvana's needs

Why not more CDR?

Advantages of mid-game attack speed

On-hit effects

Shyvana's kit has 7 on-hit effects or synergies.
  • Her Q applies on-hit effects a second time, as well as being an auto-attack timer reset - this means that an AA+Q combo applies on-hit effects three times (in around 0.3-0.4 seconds realistically, due to the time for the attack animation)
  • Her W grants an on-hit bonus to every auto-attack while it is proccing
  • Her E grants an on-hit bonus to every auto-attack against all opponents hit by the flame
  • Every hit reduces her Q cooldown
  • Every hit extends the duration of her W
  • Every hit grants Fury, so either it reduces the cooldown of her ultimate, or it extends its duration
  • In dragon form, her Q applies on-hit effects to all targets in the area of effect.
One of the core items I suggest, Wit's End:
  • adds magic damage as an on-hit effect
  • each hit shreds the opponent's MR and at the same time gives +6 MR to Shyvana
Her other core items, Enchantment: Bloodrazor, Titanic Hydra and Blade of the Ruined King add physical damage as an on-hit effect:
  • BotRK applies percentage current health damage as an on-hit effect
  • Titanic Hydra applies a percentage of your max health as an on-hit effect
Both of these are supplemented by the on-hit physical damage on targets marked by Flame Breath which is % maximum health damage.

That's a total of eleven on-hit effects or synergies with the core items. Wow!

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Jungle item

Most builds in this guide show the Stalker's Blade jungle item. The slow from its Smite is very useful when ganking, it's also a nice late-game execute, and a good counter to champions who want to kite you. When ganking, it's important to ensure you can catch up to the opponent and apply your full combo: it's the extra procs of W on the opponent which get you the kills. Skirmisher's Sabre does about the same Smite damage, in theory more but an opponent can counter some of the damage over time with a potion or lifesteal. The advantage of Skirmisher's Sabre is that it can kill an opponent after he disengages or after you disengage - so opponents can disengage with 50hp, and this can still kill them. For duels, Challenging Smite has a minor de-buffing effect on the enemy. If your opponent jungler is high damage melee ( Xin Zhao, Kha'Zix, Jax, Vi, Olaf, Warwick) take the Skirmisher's Sabre, otherwise he can out-duel you early, and we don't want that: Shyvana needs to establish her jungle dominance.

Cinderhulk provides the simple benefit of 300 health, and the hidden benefit of +15% on all your bonus health - therefore like Rabadon's Deathcap it's best to buy it only after you have other health items, for example Titanic Hydra. The area of effect damage, similar to Sunfire Aegis, is lower damage than Shyvana's W but it all adds up and Cinderhulk's damage scales with champion level, again making it a better value purchase to complete this item when Shyvana is at higher level - it's not a good first item. Cinderhulk deals magic damage so there is synergy with Wit's End or Abyssal Mask. Since Patch 8.7, Cinderhulk's area of damage becomes larger when Shyvana is in Dragon form. Early game, 300 health can be had for much less gold just by buying a Giant's Belt, or by finishing Titanic Hydra which is Shyvana's most damaging item. Therefore if going the Cinderhulk route, I strongly recommend taking this jungle enchantment only after you have completed Titanic Hydra or Frozen Mallet or Wit's End as your first item. In effect, Cinderhulk gives you a power spike from not rushing your jungle item, because you will have your other strong items earlier in the game.

With 4% max health on-hit damage, this is the best late game choice, especially against tanks. It's also a good early game choice because it speeds up Shyvana's jungle farm a lot, so it helps Shyvana have her level advantage. If you don't start with this jungle enchantment then in a long game you might want to exchange Cinderhulk for this in the late game (at the same time taking Spirit Visage to maintain the same level of defence). You can also switch over to a different base jungle item at the same time, most probably Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor for the late game.

This is not commonly taken, but it can just about work on Shyvana because it gives the best-value attack damage in the game (+60AD for 1625 gold is excellent) and the cooldown reduction is a nice bonus, especially early game when her cooldowns are long. Shyvana's main abilities scale with attack damage. Best combined with a cheap item giving high attack speed, for example Wit's End or Phantom Dancer. Shyvana's AD scaling on her Q was nerfed from Patch 8.4 and that nerf will hurt most if you take this jungle item, so generally not recommended.

This is never taken. It's not for Shyvana. Before Patch 8.10 Shyvana could in theory take it for the movement speed bonus and some extra burst damage when you gank: Shyvana does well with high movement speed because it lets her keep on applying W damage and basic attacks and Qs to the opponent. But that movement speed was removed in Patch 8.10.

Detailed comparison between Cinderhulk and Bloodrazor

Should you build your jungle item first or second?

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Offensive Items

Core damage items

Titanic Hydra is a core item on Shyvana. I recommend you take either this or Frozen Mallet as your first big item, to get tanky early. It has massive burst damage every 20 seconds when you activate it - this is good all game, against champions burst damage is more important than DPS because most opponents can escape from a long fight or retreat to turret. The activation is a genuine auto-attack reset meaning it applies Shyvana's on-hit effects as well, this is an important part of Shyvana's combo. Other benefits: AoE damage, 450 health, and health regen. It's a perfect first item (after your Stalker's Blade - Bloodrazor jungle item, or you can even get this before your jungle item if following a Cinderhulk build path). Good for DPS, burst damage and defence - and it had a nice +5AD buff in Season 8. Combined with items you will build later, it makes for a damage monster: I recommend taking this with Blade of the Ruined King. The item allows for some nice plays in the Dragon pit - position the Dragon between yourself and enemy champions, so your attacks on the Dragon will do AoE damage to the enemies behind it. I recommend you place this item in the same slot every time you play, this helps train the muscle memory in your fingers so that you learn to activate this automatically in a fight - for me that's slot 1.
Titanic Hydra details

Frozen Mallet could be considered a defensive item because it provides 700 health, that's only 100 health less than a Warmog's. But the item also increases Shyvana's offence and utility, with an always-available slow which is stronger than the slow from red buff. Although the cost is high, it's an excellent item for Shyvana, as it gives her the one thing her kit really lacks, which is crowd control. My experience is that Shyvana with this item will usually win a game, because it puts enemies on tilt if they know you will kill them every time you catch on to them. The health is also great for her, because Shyvana has high resistances naturally, she wants to focus her tanky items primarily on health (except in a game where a lot of enemies do % health damage, for example Vayne and Kindred). Frozen Mallet can be a second item in a Bloodrazor build, but if following this build path I recommend taking Bloodrazor first for quicker farm. As a second item, this gives a lot of tankiness, and utility when team fights are starting. Frozen Mallet can also be a good follow-up to Titanic Hydra for general tankiness, or a good sixth item, if the enemy team has two or more tanks - combined with attack speed (Bloodrazor, BotRK and Wit's End) Frozen Mallet makes a good anti-tank item, because the constant slow will hold an enemy tank in position for long enough for it to be killed.
Frozen Mallet Details

Blade of the Ruined King is the best late game item for Shyvana, after you have maxed Q. The primary purpose of this item is to kill late game tanks and bruisers, but it also works well against kiting ADCs, because the item active slows them enough that they can no longer kite you. The item was buffed during Season 7 to increase the on-hit damage to 8%, and from Patch 8.11 it costs only 3200 gold making it a must-have item for Shyvana in the late game ... the on-hit damage is strongest when opponents have high health. It also gives Shyvana useful damage and lifesteal, not so much attack speed, but Shyvana does not need extra attack speed in the late game. The on-hit % current health damage is a big part of Shyvana's total damage, it will be procced 4 times in her basic late-game combo for 32% current health damage (reduced by opponent armor). This item is essential if you have to deal with champions who have stacked health, like Cho'Gath, Mundo or Volibear, also strong against any level 18 champion who has 3000+ health - works well paired with Enchantment: Bloodrazor and Shyvana's E for huge % health damage. The active is excellent for when you can't catch up to opponents: like an extra Chilling Smite giving some magic damage and a slow (which also speeds you up) - and the active is incredible (a wide-area 5 second slow centered on your enemeies) if you have the Glacial Augment rune. I recommend always placing this item in the same number item slot, where you can most easily activate the item in a fight - for me that's slot number 2 - and have it set to smartcast.
Blade of the ruined king details

Stormrazor is one of Shyvana's highest damage items when she is on full build and carrying - simply because its basic stats of AD, attack speed and (new in Season 10) critical chance are exactly what she needs for higher damage (it's a lot more AD than Trinity Force). It also has a useful slowing effect on enemies, when you first hit them - but only if it is fully stacked.
Moving stacks it, and Shyvana moves plenty, so stacking it is fairly easy for her.
This is a strong Shyvana item in Season 10.

.If you need to build a lot of magic resistance, Wit's End is still good on Shyvana even after recent changes, but it's not as good as it once was, and it's now best as a 5th or 6th item because its magic damage and healing depends on level, the damage is weak at low level. I recommend you think of this as a core item if you need magic resistance. It works well in a full AD team (because the opponents will probably build no MR).
Wit's End details

Cheap mid-game options

I generally buy one Long Sword any time I have a spare 350 gold, because that early +10 AD gives around a +10-15% buff to your total damage. It's best to spend all your gold, if you can. Apart from Tiamat, here are some other possible options for utility items you can build that Long Sword into for something useful. If building an AD item early - for example Titanic Hydra or Frozen Mallet - then obviously you should be building the components of that item to complete it sooner.

Poacher's Dirk costs only 500 gold. It gives a slight damage bonus in your first attack when ganking. It automatically transforms, for no cost, into Serrated Dirk worth 1100 gold after you have killed four enemy jungle camps. Any good Shyvana is going to be killing enemy jungle camps all the time, so that's basically 600 gold for free. Serrated Dirk is an item you can hold all game, for the AD and the Lethality - very powerful combined with a Bloodrazor, Titanic Hydra and BotRK build. Eventually you can build it into the lovely Edge of Night, or sell it for 770 gold, so you made a 270 gold profit :)

Against a melee jungler like Vi, Kha'Zix, Rengar or Jax, some lifesteal can make a big difference to who is the survivor if you duel. Shyvana is likely to be duelling because it makes sense for her to invade the enemy jungle constantly. The lifesteal is also pretty nice for farming generally, keeping you topped up to full health most of the time, this will give you more opportunities in game, for example more opportunities to gank. Obviously this item will build later into Bilgewater Cutlass and then Blade of the Ruined King.

Phage is the most important part of Trinity Force, for Shyvana. That's because of the flat movement speed bonus in combat, which can help deal with kiting opponents and generally helps you to stay on top of a target with your W area of effect damage: this works especially well with the recommended Celerity rune. The strong +200 health is also nice to have to be tankier early. Even so, I do not generally build Trinity Force - BotRK is a similar, but cheaper and better, attack speed + damage item for Shyvana. But buying Phage and holding onto it until you are ready for a 6-item build can be a good plan.

If your team has a specific problem with life-stealing opponents or other high sustain champions, then for only 800 gold you can fix the problem with Executioner's Calling (and really your AP allies ought to be looking at a Morellonomicon as well). Opponents to take this against, in order of importance: Darius Fiora Warwick Vladimir Aatrox Dr. Mundo Renekton Kayn Irelia Xin Zhao - maybe also Nasus Olaf and Trundle. You can also take it against any champion with a high lifesteal build (often Yasuo Jax and Jinx, but check their build) - though Thornmail is usually better against those. Grievous Wounds restricts healing from allies, so Executioner's Calling or Thornmail is also a good pick against Soraka Sona Nami etc supports. You should buy this in early-mid game and then just hold onto it in your 6th item slot: it is not costly and gives a useful amount of attack damage as well. You can eventually sell it or built it into Mortal Reminder. The difference between this and Thornmail is that Thornmail inflicts Grievous Wounds on opponents only if they attack you - in contrast, Executioner's Calling inflicts it on anyone you attack - which can be the whole enemy team, if you have Titanic Hydra or if you use Q in dragon form.

Situational items

Maw of Malmortius is the classic MR and attack damage item. In previous seasons I have never recommended it for Shyvana, because she did better with the on-hit magic damage from Wit's End, or tankier MR items. But in Season 8, Maw is looking better if you have the (recommended) Last Stand rune. Maw of Malmortius pairs super well with this rune, as the shield and strong lifesteal bonuses from Maw help you to stay on around 20-30% health for a long time, which is perfect for your 12% increased damage from Last Stand - excellent for those 1 v 2 and 1 v 3 situations. Late game, Shyvana does well with the burst damage this gives. But I wouldn't buy this too early, it's a costly item: it can be taken in place of Spirit Visage in the suggested builds, for example - that's a nice way to deal with % health magic damage opponents like Brand.

This item offers a nice overall damage buff and enough MR that you should not need other magic defences. The main reason for taking it is for the escape from hard CC, as an upgrade from Quicksilver Sash. The extra lifesteal is pretty nice too, in a full damage build. I sometimes sell another item to buy this for the late game if I need it.

Edge of Night is a health and attack damage item. It also has a spell shield which blocks the first enemy ability, exactly like Banshee's Veil. The item gives a bit of Lethality (armor pen), good if you have a Blade of the Ruined King + Bloodrazor + Titanic Hydra build so that your physical damage is high. It has an interesting build path for Shyvana, building out of the low cost Poacher's Dirk (see above) meaning the completed Edge of Night item costs only 2400 gold in total, for Shyvana. I love this item.
Situations when a spellshield is good

The Phantom Dancer is a key element in the Anti-kiting Build and could be taken as a third item or a seventh item (boots replacement) in any other build. Some pro players occasionally take Phantom Dancer on Shyvana. It's a gold-efficient item and not costly - it has about the same cost as a completed jungle item - so you can complete it early, that's why it is the first item in the Anti-kiting Build: the Zeal component already gives a nice power spike. Phantom Dancer's basic stats of attack speed, crit chance and high movement speed are all good for Shyvana, and help her early-game farming which is always good. 25% chance of double damage on basic attacks and on Shyvana's Q, hello yes please! If you have the chance to try this item on Shyvana, I think you will like it - you will notice a big damage increase. The specific reason for choosing Phantom Dancer (instead of other Zeal items) is its movement bonuses: Shyvana shines with high movement speed, so this really helps when ganking and helps deal with one of Shyvana's main weaknesses, which is being kited.
Phantom Dancer Details

From time to time (fashions change) this is a popular item with Platinum+ Shyvana players, sometimes even taken as a first item. Start with Stinger then Phage if this is the first item: Stinger helps your farm, which is what Shyvana is best at, and Phage can maybe give you a movement speed boost when ganking a lane if you can find a nearby minion to kill. Even though some famous names built this way, I really don't like Trinity Force as a first item, due to the high gold cost - if you rush this, you will put yourself behind the enemy jungler who built a cheaper item first. Several other items, for example BotRK and Titanic Hydra, give higher damage for less gold. (Valkrin said here (January 10, 2017) that Trinity Force is the highest damage item on Shyvana. He is definitely not correct. I have run the numbers to check this, and tested in the training tool. Both then and now (in Season 9), BotRK, Titanic Hydra and Guinsoo's Rageblade all give higher damage to enemy champions from Shyvana's standard combo, and the first three listed also give higher DPS. Trinity Force beats other items against one thing only: turrets.) Trinity Force is a weak item early because its main damage bonus - Spellblade from Sheen - scales with base AD only, and you need to be somewhere close to level 18 to have high enough base AD to make this worthwhile. And late game, BotRK is always going to be a better damage item than Trinity Force because it does % health damage and enemies have high health in the late game. So there's not really any time when it makes sense. In a very long game, Trinity Force is a possible boots replacement, giving in-combat movement speed almost the same as Tier 2 boots. The item pairs well with Dead Man's Plate (or Cloud Drake buffs), to give you high movement speed both in combat and out of combat.
Trinity Force details

Guinsoo's Rageblade is a good pick on Shyvana because (when fully stacked) it gives a phantom hit every third attack and Shyvana is a very strong on-hit champion, and can quickly make 3 attacks using her Q. In Season 9 after its rework and price reduction, it's looking a very interesting choice, even after the Patch 9.10 nerf. It gives both armor pen and magic pen, which are great for Shyvana's mixed damage. When fully stacked, if you already built 3 other on-hit items (Titanic Hydra, Bloodrazor, BotRK), then it is the highest damage item Shyvana can have... And Shyvana only needs to attack 4 times to stack it fully - melee champions receive the 5th and 6th stacks for free. So Shyvana can get to full stacks quicker than almost any other champion if she uses the auto-attack resets from Q and from Titanic Hydra. But, this item only becomes really strong when paired with other on-hit items: you should always prioritise buying at least one out of Titanic Hydra and Blade of the Ruined King before this. And if you have other on-hit items already, and boots, then you should often be using your final slots for fully defensive items. This means that Shyvana cannot always buy Guinsoo's Rageblade, maybe only in a game where she is carrying or her team are already winning hard. It helps with split pushing and one-shotting, and could force an earlier surrender.

Four Weird Picks Which can work as 6th item

Not recommended: Black Cleaver - Ravenous Hydra

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Boots and movement speed

Movement speed is important on Shyvana. The key thing about movement speed is it's relative: you want to be able to go faster than the other guy, so whatever they have, you want something better. Both out-of-combat and in-combat movement speed are good, if Shyvana is chasing or coming in to gank she probably gets the out-of-combat movement speed. Flat movement speed is best, not % increases, because Shyvana's W gives a big % movement speed increase.

Shyvana uses a combination of factors to catch opponents: high base movement speed, a burst of speed from W, and the range of slows she has at her disposal. Burnout is great, but not enough by itself to catch all opponents. Against kiting opponents, Shyvana still needs something additional for speed, for example Phantom Dancer, Trinity Force or Youmuu's Ghostblade, or a heavy slow to apply to the opponent. You may need to chain slows. Blade of the Ruined King gives the best slow from an item active, because it's a 3 second slow and it speeds you up at the same time as slowing the enemy. Chilling Smite is similar. You can have both :) If you took Exhaust as a summoner's spell, it's best to wait to use that when you are already in melee range.

As we head into mid-season 8, from Patch 8.6 several ADCs and AD assassins received buffs, so armor up! Ninja Tabi are normally the best boots (even after their nerf in 8.7). But you should adapt boots choices to how the game is going, the enemy team composition and who is most fed. Later in the game I sometimes switch boots, it's only around a 280 gold cost to sell boots and buy different ones.

Boots choices

Boots of Swiftness are often the best boots to buy early game on Shyvana. This is due to the cheap 900 gold cost. There are four specific situations when Boots of Swiftness are a strong pick:
  • If you are carrying your team and you need to do everything quickly - you're also probably 2 levels higher than opponents so defences are not too important.
  • If the enemy has important skillshots, the extra manoeuverability from these plus W can help you dodge them - dodging a skillshot is better than tanking it, so these boots are actually defensive.
  • If you need to keep up with a specific opponent who also has fast movement.
  • If the enemy team has a lot of strong slows (Ashe, Jhin, Ekko, Teemo etc)
More generally, a high movement speed build always works well on Shyvana as it allows you to run with enemies and apply your W damage for longer and get in more basic attacks. But Boots of Swiftness are only +10 movement speed ahead of other Tier 2 boots, it's generally not worth buying these if the enemy team has no slows.

An important advantage of these boots is they cost less gold than other Tier 2 boots. The low cost means you can have a faster early game. With less gold spent on Tier 2 boots you can complete your first full item earlier, see this video for an example. Saving gold on a core item is a big advantage because it means not only do you complete that item sooner, it means you also complete every future item earlier as well. Earlier power spikes = more chance to snowball.

The early game movement speed itself also helps you snowball fast, because you can get to places faster and do more. And don't forget that the Celerity rune gives you a small amount of extra AD from your movement speed. Later in the game you can sell these boots for something more defensive if necessary. Most of the full game builds in this guide do not show Boots of Swiftness, but I quite often take these boots first and change them later.

Ninja Tabi are very strong against an ADC or generally against AD champions, they also help you to tower dive and survive which is highly useful in the mid game. As well as the armor, the 12% damage reduction on every enemy basic attack is an incredible benefit to have from boots. (Damage reduction stacks very well with other damage reductions, for example from Red Smite or from Phantom Dancer.) Even if you do not start with these boots, you will often need them late game: if the enemy team has a strong ADC these will probably be your go-to boots. Pretty much essential against a Vayne.

Buy Mercury's Treads for the tenacity, not the magic resist. These can work well mid game, combined with an armor defensive item like Dead Man's Plate or Randuin's Omen. You might need these for the tenacity if there are strong stuns, roots or silences on the enemy team, especially point-and-click abilities like Malzahar, Ryze, Irelia, Lulu, Fiddlesticks. Best paired with Legend: Tenacity: if you need the tenacity, you might as well have lots of it.
About tenacity

Uncommon boots choices

If you have Boots of Swiftness and something extra for movement speed, your movement speed numbers in game may not be as high as you expect. For example, if you have Boots of Swiftness and the Celerity rune you might expect to have out-of-combat movement speed of 417 (without W): that's 350 base movement plus 55 from the boots plus 12 from the rune. But your actual movement speed in game will be 416. That's not a bug, it's a feature of the game intended by Riot, called a soft cap.

How the movement speed soft cap works

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Defensive Items

Protection against physical damage is important in Season 9, because every ADC can achieve very high amounts of damage output by the mid and end game, and various patches and tweaks have changed the balance on bot lane so that an ADC who gets ahead of her opponent will snowball more easily. A skilled ADC is, generally, the most potent threat to Shyvana, especially if you are team-fighting.

The % damage reductions given by Ninja Tabi and Randuin's Omen are significant against opponents who do most of their damage with basic attacks and crit strikes. When planning your build, it is important to know which enemy champions do that, and which do their main physical damage using abilities or on-hit damage - so think about it before the game starts, it will make the difference between buying Warden's Mail or Chain Vest! Generally speaking in-game you can tell by looking at the enemy builds, the auto-attackers will build critical chance items. If you see two opponents building critical chance items then you should definitely build Ninja Tabi and Randuin's Omen. Thornmail is important defence against opponents with lifesteal.

Shyvana also needs health items: there's no point having super high armor and MR, if you don't have the health to go with it. The health + damage items (Titanic Hydra, Frozen Mallet, Sterak's Gage, Edge of Night, Trinity Force) are all good for Shyvana. High health is a good general defence, because most enemy teams will be dealing out mixed damage. All the builds in this guide are therefore looking to have high health. But having high health is not a perfect defence, because some opponents do % max health damage: if you are dying over and over to a Vayne or a Brand, buying a Warmog's Armor is not going to improve the situation (much).

In Season 9, Shyvana therefore needs to build good general defences, but she cannot expect to build so tanky that opponents can never take her down. Lifesteal, health regen, high mobility, and slows to apply to your opponent, must all also form part of your overall defensive strategy - as well as dealing out high damage of your own. If you are having to duel against a fed melee opponent - a Master Yi for example - then Damage reductions which can be applied to one opponent - most importantly Challenging Smite from Skirmisher's Sabre, but also maybe Exhaust - are part of your defensive options.

Standard defensive items

Dead Man's Plate offers armor and health, more health than Randuin's Omen but less armor. This is the standard armor item to buy on Shyvana, the high movement speed really helps her playstyle. This item is great for split-pushing. The mini-slow on it works well with Shyvana's combo, so in the time the opponent is slowed you should be able to execute a basic attack + Q combo, or Q + Titanic Hydra for a huge amount of late-game burst damage. But if you are against opponents who are building crit chance (the classic ADCs like Tristana, Sivir, or Jinx, or high attack speed ADCs like Vayne and Kalista, or a fed Yasuo) then you may prefer Randuin's Omen, or else the Dead Man's Plate + Thornmail combination. Dead Man's Plate provides good defence against AD ability-based opponents like Kha'Zix, Riven, Camille, Irelia who usually build a lot of AD but not much attack speed or crit chance. But the most important reason for picking Dead Man's Plate over other defensive items is that it gives a lot of movement speed. It pairs well with Frozen Mallet, so you can use the Dead Man's Plate speed to catch up to opponents then stick to them. Late game you can even sell your boots if you have this.
Dead Man's Plate details

The best defensive item against ADCs is usually Randuin's Omen. This item is important for team fighting. When you see that the enemy ADC has completed two crit striking items, or you have two opponents building crit, then it's definitely time to buy this. Other items like Dead Man's Plate and Sunfire Aegis have similar health, slightly lower armor - but Randuin's Omen brings two unique passives of crit-strike reduction and attack speed reduction. This is also probably your go-to item if you need to buy just one item against AD - for example against a 50/50 AD/AP team, you might want Ninja Tabi + Spirit Visage + Randuin's Omen. The attack speed reduction can maybe help your whole team in team fights, but most importantly it keeps Shyvana alive, which is the best way to help your team!
Randuin's Omen slow

Spirit Visage or Adaptive Helm are the primary magic resist + health items. You might not need either of these items if following a Mercury's Treads build, unless facing a heavy AP team. It is rare that you would ever need to buy two or more MR items, and bear in mind that the excellent Wit's End actually has higher MR than any of these. Spirit Visage has the most health and health regen and gives a useful 10% CDR. That's a very nice combination of stats and makes Spirit Visage the most popular MR item for most people. The 30% buff to lifesteal is an excellent bonus if you have BotRK, or another lifesteal item. Spirit Visage is strong against damage over time, for example Teemo's shrooms, Singed, Twitch, Cassiopeia, Brand, Darius, or any opponent with red buff or Ignite, because the stronger health regen and lifesteal helps to counter poison and keep you alive.

Warmog's Armor is a fine item on Shyvana because her natural armor and MR will enhance any health she stacks. With a Titanic Hydra, Shyvana will generally have enough health to activate the regen passive immediately by the time she is able to complete a Warmog's. The health regen Unique Passive gives astonishing regen out of combat - you can fully heal in just a few seconds. This basically means you should be on full health all the time, thanks to lifesteal when attacking jungle camps, and thanks to Warmog's when moving between objectives. It also buffs your Titanic Hydra damage and gives 10% CDR - what's not to like? However, Frozen Mallet offers only 100 less health, so in most situations when looking at this Shyvana should actually buy Frozen Mallet.
Why health is better: effective health

Thornmail was fairly useless on Shyvana in the past, as it gave too much armor and not enough health, and the damage it reflects on attackers is actually tiny compared with the damage which Shyvana herself can do if she can reach them. (In contrast, it's always been an interesting item for tanks and supports, who can't do so much damage with their actual abilities.) But in late Season 7 and Season 8, it's become a great item again, in part thanks to its armor and health mix, in part thanks to the attack speed reduction (similar to Randuin's Omen), but mainly because it neutralises the enemy's lifesteal. A typical fed ADC will have a crit-striking, lifesteal build with Bloodthirster which means they can outduel you: unless you have this. More generally, there are many games where you face an AD-heavy enemy team, and so you need 2 armor items by the late game. On Shyvana: Randuin's Omen is the better pick if two enemies have built critical chance and no lifesteal, but Thornmail is the better pick against enemies with an attack speed/on-hit build, especially if the enemy built lifesteal. The higher the enemy's attack speed, the more times he hurts himself by attacking you... Note that the damage return to the attacker only procs on basic attacks, not damaging abilities: so this is good against classic ADCs but not so much use against Ezreal or a fed Zed. Thornmail is also good against Xin Zhao and Warwick, these guys both have built-in lifesteal and attack speed. So look at what enemies are building. In a game with two enemies building Blade of the Ruined King, Bloodthirster or other lifesteal, you will want this + other armor items. Dead Man's Plate + Thornmail + Ninja Tabi is a nice combination. Doesn't pair so well with Randuins as the attack speed reduction unique passives don't stack.

I do not like Guardian Angel on Shyvana. It gives poor gold value for its high cost: its defensive stats are not as good as other defensive items because it offers no health and no MR, it's basically half of a defensive item, if even that. You should usually buy a full armor item. OK, Guardian Angel revives you occasionally, but a full armor item might keep you from dying at all..
Guardian Angel details

Less common defensive items

A tank item since mid-season 7, Abyssal Mask gives health, strong magic resist, 10% CDR and a magic-damage increasing AoE aura. It also gives mana benefits. Even though she is a manaless champion, it works fairly well for Shyvana, with her area of effect magic damage from Burnout: the Abyssal Mask aura covers the same area (except when Shyvana is in dragon form, when her area of damage is larger)! Even so, I recommend you don't normally buy this item: it's not as defensive as other picks like Spirit Visage, and most of Shyvana's damage cames from her bite, not her Burnout. If you're building specifically to counter Jax, Irelia, Udyr or other mixed damage melee champions with a stun, this could be a good 6th item paired with a Enchantment: Cinderhulk or Sunfire Aegis build, making you tanky while the magic damage from Burnout and Bami's Cinder will hurt them badly if they engage you at melee distance.

The pure tank item, Gargoyle Stoneplate, is nice on Shyvana in a game where she is the only tank, or the only initiator on her team. Best built after you already have high health, so as a fifth or sixth item - without health it's kind of wasted: you need health first, before building crazy high levels of armor and MR! The item pumps up your armor and MR automatically when you are in team fights, but it's fairly weak outside team fights. That's OK, because with her core 4 items Shyvana should be able to duel OK (except against opponents who counter her hard, like an equally fed Xin Zhao or Vayne). The item's active is basically a "kamikaze" button, giving you a 4 second shield equal to your full current health bar if you have at least 3 enemies nearby - that's way better than a Sterak's Gage! Use this in combo with your ultimate, if you need to be the initiator - so you press R to dive the whole enemy team, then activate Stoneplate just when your dive lands when your health is still high - always use after activating R so that it doubles the health buff from Shyvana's ultimate as well. So you can get in with your ultimate, disrupt, and still survive if you use the active. Even though it reduces Shyvana's damage, Shyvana does a decent amount of damage if she is in the heart of the enemy back line using full combo, and your allies should be able to clean up. Actually the damage from Titanic Hydra is hardly reduced by Stoneplate's active, because Titanic Hydra scales up with Shyvana's health. Works well with a high health build like Titanic Hydra and Frozen Mallet in combination. This item is a good option for the combined resistances that Guardian Angel used to offer.

For another armor + MR item - good if you have already stacked high health from a Frozen Mallet - this gives outstanding protection for its price, and the whole-team shield from the active is extremely strong if used by a champion who is building health: it can be close to a 700 health shield for the whole team, if Shyvana uses it at level 18 with a tanky build and in dragon form. Let's say you are the only tanky champion on your team: you use this and suddenly everyone on your team is a tank! Definitely worth looking at in longer games if nobody else on your team has it - especially if your team is on full build but keeps losing team fights, this could make a big difference. See Challenger-tier video from patch 8.5 below (but note this item was a bit stronger in patch 8.5, with a 30% bonus health shield).

The power of Lifesteal

NOT RECOMMENDED: Sunfire Cape - Sterak's Gage
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Adapting your build to the game

You must always adapt your build to the current game. Take into account factors like: how well you are doing, which opponents are strongest, what items are opponents building, how well are your allies doing, how much CC does your team have? It's also worth thinking about which Elemental Dragon buffs you have and therefore which items will benefit most from the extra buffs. For example, if you have two Cloud Drake buffs then Dead Man's Plate is not necessary. If you have two Fire Drake buffs then it's good to build high AD, for example Edge of Night.

If you get fed early, then for your third item you have an interesting choice between tanking up so that you are unkillable, or building BotRK for devastating damage. I usually go the damage route - just levelling up already gives some tankiness for free. Defensive boots, for example Ninja Tabi, are often enough defence against enemy AD champions if they are behind, so that Spirit Visage can be your next defensive item (this also enhances your lifesteal from BotRK so that you can be on high health all the time). For example:

The basic build I recommend involves taking Titanic Hydra as your second item, but you could instead take the excellent and low cost Wit's End first against an AP jungler - for example Elise, Amumu - or any AP opponent who is already getting fed or becoming dangerous, for example Katarina.

Wit's End can also be used to create a low-cost - but still very effective - build if you get behind, for example bad luck in early invades or unsuccessful early ganks. If you are behind you need to build tankiness, not damage. The build below gives an inexpensive way to do that so you can reach the powerspikes of completed items even with less gold flowing in. Ohmwrecker is cheaper than other armor items but gives surprisingly good benefits (10% CDR, high health regen, movement speed bonus). Total gold cost: 11550.

If following this lower cost build, after you have completed Bami's Cinder and Wit's End, you may have too little armor especially if you went for the cheap Boots of Swiftness boots option. You can build some armor before your jungle item is finished, mid-game your build could look like this:

Against a full AD team, or a fed AD opponent, or a two ADC team (a ranged jungler), change your build order to complete Ninja Tabi earlier as soon as you have your Bloodrazor, and consider building full armor - maybe Thornmail if they are the specific squishy enemies who rely on auto-attacks. This build can be completed with another armor item for over 300 armor, maybe Ohmwrecker for the movement speed boost and CDR, or Zz'Rot Portal for combined defence, or Guardian Angel for some more AD.

Here's another build which works well against a full AD team, good against ranged opponents like Lucian who want to kite you and very good against tanks and bruisers. Finish this with a Randuin's Omen against a full AD team, you should finish with 265 armor and 4200 health, that's 15000 effective health against physical damage.

If you are carrying your whole team and stronger than any one single opponent, build Blade of the Ruined King earlier - even before any big defensive item - the lifesteal and high damage from it helps you to kill multiple opponents e.g. 1 v 2, and you will have the gold needed for this if you are carrying. Movement speed will also help you to bring all that pain to bear on the opponents, so take DMP instead of Randuin's. This could also be a game for a Trinity Force, again that helps if you are carrying because you can move faster. As the game continues, opponents will slowly become stronger and so you can build another defensive item 6th.

If your carries are carrying your team properly - for example your mid and ADC are both doing well - then it can be better for Shyvana to build full tank and just defend and peel for them. Even though you won't have such a high KDA (in fact your KDA can be quite bad, because a tank sometimes acts as a damage sponge for the rest of the team, and dies in the process) your team will win as long as your carries stay alive. A build like this is very strong against any melee opponents who might try to engage your carries, and has enough out-of-combat movement speed to catch up to your team anywhere on the map: you can also tank a large amount of turret damage with a build like this.

If you need high movement speed, take a Dead Man's Plate and Zeal in addition to your Boots of Swiftness - this can later be built out into a Phantom Dancer as your 6th item, similar to the Best Off-Tank Build but taking Phantom Dancer over BotRK. A build like this is strong against kiting ADCs like Ashe, Kalista, Vayne, Jinx - they try to kite you, but you catch up to them and 1-shot them:

Generally Boots of Swiftness are best for the laning phase, as Shyvana needs to get around a lot and also chase down fleeing opponents. Late game when most fights are team fights, raw movement speed is not so important - there's not much point to having higher movement speed than the rest of your team - and W gives enough burst movement speed for repositioning in fights. That's why late game we usually switch to Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads for all the defensive benefits those boots give.

Finally, here is a tanky build which - specifically - works well against Jax, Irelia, Camille and other melee opponents with a close-range stun:

So you do a lot of passive and W damage to them if they engage with you, you are tanky enough to survive their burst, and the slow from Frozen Mallet means you can stay on top of them when you counter-engage.

Long game builds

In a long game (more than 40 minutes), opponents will be on full 6 item builds, and Shyvana will have excess gold, so Shyvana no longer has her (normal) advantage of having more gold than the opponents. So what can you do with that excess gold? Answer: (1) buy Elixirs + (2) replace your boots + (3) look at rebalancing other items. This is easy enough to do when you have extra gold: you don't have to stop thinking about items just because you already reached full build.

It makes sense to replace boots in a very long game, you will usually be losing only around 25 movement speed at most, depending on what item you take instead. Maximising movement speed is not so important in the end game as generally you want to stay with your team. The best boots replacements are normally Trinity Force or Phantom Dancer - both also make you a bit more tanky - or Youmuu's Ghostblade for raw speed. In a more defensive situation (or if you need to split push while 4 defend) look at Zz'Rot Portal, Ohmwrecker or Dead Man's Plate as a boots replacement, you can still have high movement speed in combat by activating W.

If you replaced your boots already, then you can also sell cheaper items such as Wit's End and buy something more costly. Generally late game you should be looking to out-damage the opponents with higher burst damage, so attack speed is less important late game than it is in the mid-game, instead single hit or single combo damage is more important. And although something like Wit's End is an excellent mid game item due to its on-hit damage and good gold efficiency, when you have gold to spare then you are more interested in slot efficiency - meaning highest damage per item slot. A 3000+ gold item is usually going to be better than a 2500 gold item, if you only have one item slot to spare. For damage and tankiness combined, Frozen Mallet is really good if you don't have it already, and Sterak's Gage can also be good after you are on full build. For pure damage you could look at a Stormrazor to out-class other bruisers and to one-shot squishy opponents. For damage and defence, Edge of Night is very good, or Mercurial Scimitar is excellent with its cleansing ability.

Exchanging Wit's End and your jungle item as a pair can be a good idea. For example if you built Cinderhulk + Wit's End early (for a cheaper build giving early and mid-game strength), you could exchange them as a pair for Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor + Spirit Visage after you reach full build. Bloodrazor is a strong late game item, and Spirit Visage is strong when you have completed BotRK for the lifesteal. You could also look at Frozen Mallet here or an armor item, if magic damage is not a problem.

Enchantment: Bloodrazor gives very high damage in the late game, so it's not normally a good idea to sell it. But to push your damage even higher, if you specifically have Phantom Dancer either as core build or boots replacement, you can take Infinity Edge in place of the jungle item, it's the only item which gives higher late game damage (but Infinity Edge works only if you already have 30% crit chance). It is possible to sell the jungle item without harming your jungling ability, its Tooth/Nail bonus damage against jungle monsters is nothing when you are at full build, and you still have the same 1000hp smite for Baron and Elder Dragon even with no jungle item (most people forget that!)

Don't forget to buy Elixirs as well!

Apart from all that, in a very long game (depending on your team) generally you want to tank up to something over 4000 health. It's because if you don't then full build opponents can kill you before you have enough time to do anything useful, and by now your ADC and mid should really be on full damage builds so they become your team's primary damage dealers. Even though I don't like to play Shyvana as a tank for most of the game, once your ADC is on full build + elixirs and playing properly then he really needs 2 team-mates as a tanky front line, and probably you are going to have to be one of those. You can look at this as Shyvana following a full damage build early to earn lots of gold and get a nice score, then surprise the enemy by switching to full tank for the end game. Titanic Hydra and Frozen Mallet are viable tank items of course, or you could even go literally full tank. If building full tank at level 18, Locket of the Iron Solari is surprisingly excellent because it shields your entire team using some of your tanky stats: the shield scales from your bonus health so a 700-800 hp shield is possible for all 4 of your allies - take that, Janna! (Seriously, it would be better for the Janna or Soraka or other ranged support to switch to a full AD build at this point in a 45+ minute game... nobody ever does that, but they should, because two ADCs is awesome.)

Some other ideas:
  • A high damage late game build with high movement speed and good lifesteal, and also fairly tanky. This is stronger than your enemies' full builds, very strong against the enemy back line, and with an Elixir you can win a 1 v 2, the movement speed helps you dance around your opponents to win a 1 v 2 as long as they don't have CC. The Phantom Dancer with a full build does good damage thanks to the crit chance combined with your auto-attack resets: you are hitting often, and one third of those will be crit strikes. Here Phantom Dancer is taken instead of boots, and Trinity Force in place of the jungle item. Taking Trinity Force actually reduces your damage (compared with Bloodrazor) but it adds useful movement speed and health. You can easily solo Baron with this build, the crit strikes increase your lifesteal. This may be the only build that can let you solo your strongest opponents, for example a fed Xin Zhao who has Bloodrazor and Guinsoo's Rageblade.

  • A very high damage late game build for highest possible damage without sacrificing all your defence. This build should be able to one-shot most opponents and may be the only build that can let you solo your strongest opponents, for example a fed Xin Zhao who has Guinsoo's Rageblade! If they have lifesteal they will outsustain you if you build tanky, so instead this is designed to kill in just one or two hits before they can lifesteal back up to full health: Shyvana with a full damage build can do a massive amount of damage with a single Q. Here Youmuu's Ghostblade has been taken in place of boots, you will have very high out of combat movement speed (thanks to Dead Man's Plate and Youmuu's), and Stormrazor gives you a movement speed burst in combat, if you need even more movement speed in combat you can activate Youmuu's.

  • A similar late game build for when you need to one-shot a melee opponent who built full damage with stupid amounts of lifesteal (a full damage Yasuo, Master Yi, etc) - here the Phantom Dancer gives you a bit more mobility to outplay them. As with the previous build, you have not much defence so an ADC can slaughter you, but if there is only one person carrying on the enemy team, this should let you engage and kill them before they kill you. The mini-slow from Dead Man's Plate can let you get a second attack in immediately after your first hits, even if they are running from you, so make those two attacks count - Q + Titanic Hydra active is your best combination, and blue smite is best as their lifesteal counters red smite. Again you don't take Guinsoo's Rageblade here because you are looking to one-shot them, not out-sustain them.

  • A tank killer build, if the enemy team has multiple tanks this will melt through them in seconds, you will have incredibly high DPS. By replacing your MR item you are giving up some magic defence, so you should take out the enemy mage first, but a level 18 Shyvana still has over 100 MR naturally (exact stat depends on how many drakes you took). This build has high health but only one fully defensive item slot so adapt it to the strongest threat to you, normally that's the ADC or being caught by crowd control under a turret, so we take Randuin's Omen or Dead Man's Plate: DMP is useful for crossing the map when you have no boots, but Randuin's Omen is stronger if the enemy ADC is on full build, and late game there's not much point in being able to move faster than your team. (Exceptionally, against Singed you might want to make that a Spirit Visage.)

  • A mainly defensive build for the late game. Essentially the only change from my standard Shyvana builds has been to swap the Bloodrazor enchantment for Cinderhulk, this will give you over 4000 health, and you still deal plenty of damage from the Titanic Hydra + BotRK pairing. Against a full AD team, take Thornmail instead of Spirit Visage. Ninja Tabi are usually the best late game boots choice for their important defence against a fed ADC, but to be even more tanky you could take Dead Man's Plate or Zz'Rot Portal or Ohmwrecker in place of boots, all give some movement speed benefit.

  • Another full tank late game build, you can easily switch a standard Shyvana build over to something like this in the late game. This one provides utility from the multiple slows, and close to 5000 health. Stacking health improves your Titanic Hydra damage which is the only damage you have going for you in this build. Note this build has no BotRK, that's fine as long as your allies have damage, you can still be very useful especially if your team lacks CC.

  • Finally an experimental build for maximum movement speed. This build has a high amount of single target burst damage for the late game, there is good attack damage and some crit chance and with 30% CDR (40% with blue buff) you can have W almost permanently. Instead of tanking damage, you activate W and speed away. You can be faster than Kennen when W is proccing: even after the soft cap your base movement speed is 530 in combat, 580 out of combat: and with W and Youmuu's active that increases to over 700! Defences are a bit less than a typical Shyvana build, but defence is less necessary when you can run so fast (and it's easier to dodge skillshots). This is an experimental build only, but it could be a lot of fun.

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Good vs. bad Shyvana players

A good Shyvana:
  • Uses Q and Titanic Hydra after auto-attacks for a quick double or triple attack
  • Uses E when already in melee range, to make sure targets are marked when you attack them
  • When a team fight already started, uses R to leap in and win the day
  • Otherwise saves R to use it as an escape, or to secure the kill if the enemy flashes away
  • In a duel, keeps on attacking when low on health - if you believe, you can achieve a kill and survive - it's because most opponents are on full cooldowns after their burst
  • Is mobile during fights, moving around targets to dodge skillshots, to be closer to next objective or escape routes, and to constantly apply AoE damage (Titanic Hydra / dragon-form Q) to targets behind your main target
  • Stays mobile while taking jungle camps, for example kiting the camp when W and E are both on cooldown
  • Makes use of R and walls and other natural obstacles to block the target from moving or escaping - Shyvana has a large hitbox in dragon form and can body-block other champions
  • Uses W to enhance mobility during fights
  • Makes use of brush when fighting or being chased - if not visible you are not targetable, you can also use brush to give time for abilities to go off cooldown so you can turn on your attacker
  • Respects turrets, does not tower dive early game, especially not to secure a 1-for-1 kill
  • Instead of chasing directly, anticipates opponents' escape routes and takes shortcuts through the jungle to catch them when retreating
  • Ganks winning lanes to get herself and her ally fed (and to get the enemy team all flaming each other and on tilt)
  • Takes efficient paths, covering objectives in sensible progression and earning gold all the time.

A bad Shyvana:
  • Activates Q before the first attack (but actually that's OK if you are chasing and might only get one attack)
  • Attempts to use E at long range, misses, or even if it hits she loses out on the on-hit benefits from E due to not being in range for melee attacks, and using E spoils her own mobility (E interrupts movement and basic attacks and also switches off all out-of-combat movement speed bonuses)
  • Uses R to initiate team fights, and dies - especially if her team does not follow
  • Judges the range of R badly, stopping short of targets who move away while she is in flight
  • Retreats when low on health, is chased by the opponent and dies
  • Stands still in fights and just hopes her area-of-effect abilities will do damage
  • Stands still while taking jungle camps, takes damage when abilities are on cooldown
  • Is easily evaded or kited by higher mobility champions
  • Uses W for a movement burst before fights, so it is too quickly on cooldown when the fight starts
  • Has tunnel vision, takes direct line routes when chasing or escaping
  • Attempts tower dives when ganking Ahri, and hands the enemy team a free kill
  • Chases opponents and gets baited into a 1 v 2 when an enemy comes to help
  • Ganks losing lanes trying to help an ally who is weak or has a bad match-up, and hands the strongest opponent a free double kill
  • Wastes a lot of time walking or staying in lanes to 'help', too focused on minor objectives or with no real objective at all.
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Jungle Routes

Efficient routes and play style can make a 1 or 2 minute difference to the time when you have first dragon and your early items. The early game is not a time for relaxing, it's a race to advance in levels and gold the fastest. These crucial minutes all add up to make a big difference to your power in the mid-game. One of Shyvana's advantages is she has a fast clear. You can have a level and gold advantage on the enemy jungler. It's a lot easier to get kills if you have 2 levels on him and 2 completed items to his one.

Efficient routes help you to maximise that advantage. Early game just take all the camps as fast as possible. When taking a camp, you should already be thinking about which camp you will take next, and the one after that too. If none of your camps is up next, then you need to be thinking about the enemy camps.

Whichever camp you are taking, kite the camp in the direction you want to move next - that way you will be already half way to your next destination. If that saves you maybe 3 seconds of walking time per camp, that all adds up to a difference of half a minute by the time you have taken 10 camps, so around your level 5 - this is huge. When taking Red Buff, the best way to kite it is to stand and hit it three times with auto-attacks or Q then immediately run backwards - it will hit you twice in that time, but then its third attack will be cancelled because it has to move, so basically you take 33% less damage from it.

Shyvana can clear her own 6 camps fairly easily, so if you want to be strong, you need to always be looking for the contested objectives - Rift Scuttlers and enemy camps. Bonus situation: finding the enemy jungler in River trying to heal up off a Rift Scuttler or a plant (it can be worth hiding in a river brush just for this, and definitely ward the mid-river brush early). Also good: seeing the enemy jungler top, and stealing two of his bottom camps. Stealing camps is a strong strategy in Season 9, with all camps taking such a long time to re-spawn.

Updated for Season 9:

I recommend starting with Hunter's Machete and Refillable Potion, and stay on the map until you have at least 950 gold before backing - if you get an early kill or assist you can back even later. Refillable Potion gives you less sustain in your first clear compared with 3 Health Potions, but it should be easy enough for Shyvana to sustain herself with Smite, river plants, and Rift Scuttlers, and Refillable Potion obviously gives free refills on each back, and can eventually be sold for 60 gold.

The single camps are easy to kill and don't do much damage: Shyvana has high starting armor and high level 1 damage. Red Buff and Blue Buff can be taken fastest if you use the correct abilities - physical damage (Q) for Red Buff, magic damage (E and W, and E empowered basic attacks) for Blue Buff. But (for junglers like Shyvana who don't start with Talisman) raptors is a dangerous camp at low level, it has so many monsters that it will take away at least half your health at level 1 or 2, I recommend you ignore this camp until you have two points on W or a Hunter's Talisman, or unless you are about to go back. Krugs takes a long time to clear all the monsters but gives decent gold and XP: I recommend you leave this camp until you have at least level 3 - you can clear it quickly with E and W. Many jungle opponents will also leave Krugs till last, so this can be a good camp to steal which sets your opponent back a lot in XP.

The fastest start is to clear the 4 quickest camps first, and then at least one Rift Scuttler, or both if possible, they give a lot of XP and of course vision. The 4 quickest camps are Red Buff, Gromp, Blue Buff and Wolves. After the 4th camp you can either:
  • go back for items and a potion refill - you must have at least 700 gold by now, enough for Hunter's Talisman and a Dagger. That Hunter's Talisman is good even on a manaless champion like Shyvana, it increases Shyvana's W damage to jungle camps and gives decent sustain - it's a strong help when taking Raptors and Krugs or an early Dragon.
  • look to counter-jungle at level 3 if you think the enemy jungler will be low on health or mana by now, this depends on your knowledge of other jungle champions and their routes

Optimal route for Shyvana: Enemy Red Buff* (solo) - (blast cone over the wall into Baron pit) - Blue Buff - Gromp* - Wolves (where * shows the camp you will Smite). With this route, you start W because you are invading, it can give you an extra burst of movement speed if you need to get out of there. Shyvana can take Red Buff easily enough solo at level 1 with smite, kiting the camp as explained above to reduce damage taken. We leave Wolves until level 3, when you should have W and E abilities as well, which help to take that camp more quickly and safely. This route gives you the fastest first clear, because Red Buff grants additional on-hit damage, and it's also a safe route assuming you do not get spotted at the enemy Red Buff, you can start with Oracle Lens to make sure of that. Obviously this messes up your opponent's route if he did not see you at his Red. You can heal up some with your health potion, nothing wrong with drinking a charge at level 1. Stealing the enemy red buff can go wrong - if it was warded, you might have both the enemy top and mid coming for you (you should be able to see this easily from their absence from the minimap). If the enemy jungler starts there, how you play it depends on the top laners - if it's 1 v 1 you might be able to beat the enemy jungler or put him on very low health, especially if you can out-smite him. If the enemy top laner is there, you should get out fast, unless your top laner is with you and has a strong level 1 (someone like Jax, Pantheon or Darius). If the enemy jungler started blue, but his red was warded, then he will probably respond by invading for your Red Buff at his level 2 (also called "Vertical Jungling), but that's OK - he loses a lot of time doing that. (But ping your bot laners, his route back to his jungle might involve a level 2 gank.)

Alternative blue start: enemy Blue Buff* - Red Buff - full clear. Even with no leash, Shyvana starting with the W ability can take the Blue Buff solo at level 1 without smite, before the enemy jungler has time to get there if he started at his Red Buff. Take Q as your level 2 ability, it helps a lot with Red Buff which you will be taking next.

Both of these routes involve an aggressive start of stealing an enemy buff at level 1, normally that's going to be whichever buff is on the top side of the map because most junglers start bottom side for a leash from bot lane. Starting like this is always good, unless you are seen and they come for you. It puts the enemy behind, because either he has to accept the loss of his early buff - so you get 3 buffs and he gets 1 - or he has to retaliate by stealing your buff, which loses him time because he has to walk over to it and walk back. Depending on the enemy jungler's route, there's a chance you can mess him up so badly that you can take both Rift Scuttlers as well as 3 buffs, if you focus exclusively on those as your objectives at levels 3-4 - it slows you down slightly because there's more walking, but Shyvana walks faster than others with her 350 base movement speed and W, and it will be putting the enemy jungler behind if he walks to an objective and cannot take it because it is already gone, and maybe you can do something useful in mid-lane when you are passing through. Think of it like a mini-game you are playing against the enemy jungler. If the enemy jungler is mana-dependent or lacks sustain, taking both Rift Scuttlers is an important objective for you to close him down early, because Rift Scuttlers give back a lot of health and mana. Once you have done this, Shyvana can back with 1350 gold while your opponent is still walking around the map wondering what happened.

If you start aggressive like this, the key thing is not to be seen at all at Level 1 (don't go into the enemy jungle until after 01:20 when laners should be in lane, and you can take Oracle Lens at level 1 to check for wards and enemies hiding in brush). If you find the enemy jungler starting in the opposite place from where you guessed, just use W to get out of there: at least you now have some information about his route, so you can maybe catch him later. If you are able to solo the camp but you think might have been seen by a ward, the important thing is to watch the minimap carefully to make sure you know where enemy mid and top laners are - if you lose sight of either of them on the mini-map, it's a safe assumption they are coming for you. Worst case, if you took Flash, I actually think it's OK for Shyvana to use Flash at 01:40 to get out of a bad situation (best if you can steal the enemy buff from under his nose as well) - people think "oh no I burned my Flash" but an early farming jungler like Shyvana might not be using Flash in the first 5 minutes of game time anyhow, so Flash will be up again when you are next likely to need it.

While you do this, the task of your allies in lane is to get sight on their lane opponent, if the lane opponent leaves lane then they need to follow. The task of your bot lane is to get visibility on the enemy bot lane and jungler to make sure the enemy jungler started on the bottom side of the map, and pretend to be guarding river entrances on your side of the map, pretending that you started bottom side of the map as normal.

Generally allies in lane will see your level 1 counter-jungling as risky, but it is not risky if you take the precautions above. It's best if your allies stay in lane unless they lose sight of their lane opponents, and this can also help your allies reach level 2 first. The worst that your allies in lane can do is to be seen before 01:25 in the region of the enemy buff or heading that way in a way which makes the enemy team ward it more carefully or collapse on that position, fearing an invade. So your allies need to stay where they would normally stay, not come to "help".

Alternative cheesy level 1 Buff stealing methods

Do not be afraid to invade solo after you have level 4. Shyvana is a strong and safe early jungler thanks to her fast clears, natural armor, and lack of mana dependance. She can normally be a level ahead of the enemy jungler meaning you can win an early duel, and you can set back the enemy jungler a good amount, by stealing their camps (because camps take a long time to respawn). The jungle plants can also help you to invade safely, for example giving vision or knockback. But take care against the strongest jungle opponents: it's hard to win a fight against Lee Sin or Vi early, and if they land their skillshots they can probably kill you.

Tips and tricks:
  • Start with Hunter's Machete, always.
  • You have to know Shyvana's clearing mechanics. Inefficient clears mean you will lose health unnecessarily, and have to go back sooner - which wastes time.
  • Use E when you are close to camps, so that you have its on-hit benefit for longer.
  • For extra speed you can activate some camps - for example Wolves - as you approach them, this draws them out a little.
  • Finish up each camp on the side that you need to be headed next, so you have a head start on you movement to the next camp.
  • For higher speed, you do not need to wait for abilities to be off cooldown before starting camps. If your abilities are on cooldown, start the camp with basic attacks, you will still be able to use your abilities on the camp later with exactly the same damage as if you had used the abilities to start that camp.
  • If you took runes different from the recommended Precision based rune sets, you will have lower attack speed so you will take camps slower and receive more damage, in this case you will need to test jungle routes for yourself in a custom game.
  • Try not to use the plant which gives vision (Scryer's Bloom is its name...) If you use it, that will show the enemy team your location, because the plant's vision thing gets shown to both teams on the minimap.

Minutes 9 to 15 in the game

After first dragon, you want a farming route that gives you the most efficiency, meaning least movement between camps and least time wasted. Wolves - Gromp - Blue (if it's up) - Rift Scuttler - enemy Raptor camp - gank mid is a good route. Take Rift Scuttlers whenever you see them up, and don't be afraid to steal the enemy's jungle: you actually want to encounter the enemy jungler there so you can get a kill (but check the enemy laners didn't come to help). Gank when there is a high chance of a kill or assist.

Don't forget to kill the Rift Herald: it should result in your team getting at least one turret for free. Maybe 2 turrets, since she (the Rift Herald is a she) was buffed in Patch 8.9. You can kill the Rift Herald easily from level 8 onwards, though it's quite slow to take alone (and therefore risky if it's warded): faster with an ally.
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Shyvana is known as a "bad" ganker before level 6. I don't think she's bad at all, but you need the set-up to be right: she cannot simply gank a random lane on demand. Early ganks not only help your team, they also help Shyvana in her own goals completing items. For levelling up fast, you also need to always be thinking about XP: the early jungle camps give XP faster than ganking.

I quite often take Ignite as my summoners spell, as it helps you win a duel against the enemy jungler if you decide to invade, and it also helps you to be useful in pre-level 6 ganks. With Ignite, look out for two specific early gank opportunities if they come up:

Opportunity 1: Mid lane gank at level 1 (before the minion wave arrives). At game start, take W and run as fast as you can to a mid-river brush, then wait near the entrance to the enemy's jungle - you will maybe do this anyhow if planning to steal an enemy buff camp at level 1. If the enemy mid is dumb enough to move forward from his turret (or maybe your mid laner can bait him) then you can get between the enemy mid and his turret, ping your mid laner, W, basic attack twice and Ignite, you can get a kill. Even if it goes badly you will force the mid laner to use Flash and maybe go back on low health, putting your mid laner on level 2 by the time he returns to lane. This is fairly safe because the enemy jungler will be at Blue Buff or Red Buff, not too focused on his mid lane, and that mid laner should be dead before the enemy jungler can come. You generally take 0 damage from this, the only cost is it reveals your position to the enemy jungler.

Opportunity 2: Top lane gank at level 2 (enemy top lane still on level 1). This is quite easy if you followed an aggressive jungle route. Go to steal an enemy buff on the top side of the map at level 1, you can usually do this unseen and unopposed if the enemy jungler started on the bottom side (even if it's warded, the enemy can't actually stop you from doing this without losing out on level 1 lane minions). Take W as your first or second ability. Smite the camp and drink a potion. You can now gank top lane on full health with level 2 and (maybe) totally unexpected at this time.

At levels 3-5, Shyvana's ganks are "bad" because the enemy can often just run away to tower:
-in Season 8, Riot nerfed the jungle so that junglers reach levels 3, 4 and 5 after the top and mid laners, you can find the enemy top laner is on level 6 while you are still level 4
- Shyvana has no early CC (except maybe Chilling Smite, but it's not usually worth rushing this)
- she has no gap-closer before level 6
- she has no real ranged abilities
- her main damage comes from melee attacks and it's hard for her to do any melee attacks against an enemy who is running away (maybe possible if you took Glacial Augment)
- she's not all that tanky at low level and cannot safely tower dive
- she has no natural sustain so can be out-duelled at low levels if the enemies stay to fight (especially in bottom lane).

But, Shyvana can do huge damage with her W if the enemy for some reason can't get away from it, for example if you run along next to an over-extended enemy while he retreats to his turret (you should basic attack while running ahead of him: W and basic attacks together can do a lot of damage if you stay with the enemy). If your ally has some crowd control (make sure your ally has mana before ganking) this makes everything easier. An ideal gank involves using Chilling Smite or R to close the gap (ideally pushing the enemy back towards your ally with your R knockback), activate W when you are on top of the enemy, move with the enemy while doing a basic attack-Q quick combo and then keep on basic attacking while running with him. If the enemy is threatening to kill you or your ally, Exhaust should reduce his damage and make him dead quicker.

You should be looking to gank lanes even before level 6 in these situations:
- if your ally is winning the lane: even though your ally is winning, a gank can make the difference between the enemy backing on low health and the enemy dying (even if you only chunk away 25% of the enemy's health in your gank, probably your ally can kill the enemy next trade, and you might also force a Flash)
- if the enemy is over-extended so you have enough room between where they are now and their turret to run with them back to turret, applying a lot of W and basic attacks
- if you are able to come from behind, for example from the tri-brush, without being spotted on the way in
- if your ally has hard CC: make sure to ping plenty and check that your ally has mana
- if the enemy jungler is there, your laner might be able to bait the enemies into a situation where they make a mistake, for example attack your guy under his turret, and with your extra damage your team can get 1 or 2 kills (counter-ganking)
- if the enemy laner already killed your laner, but stayed in lane with low health to give you a free kill (best if you get there quickly enough to give your ally an assist)

There's a lot of ifs and buts here and only a large amount of in-game experience can really tell you which are the good situations where a gank will work out and where it will not.

Apart from the good situations, it's best for Shyvana not to be ganking before level 6 because it's wasting time and it's bad for team morale (you come, you attempt a gank, you don't kill, and you leave again: it looks bad). Your laners will ask for help, just tell them you will come soon or you will come after. Don't gank when your laners say they need it, gank when you judge it's good based on knowing your own champion. (One exception: against 'setup' dependent laners, specifically, Heimerdinger but also Illaoi, Zyra and Gangplank, if you are passing near to the lane you can come in, kill all their turrets / tentacles / plants / powder kegs without taking too much damage, and leave again. That helps your laner, it seems like a small thing but it actually changes the balance of power in the lane. For example I might do this just before going back to buy items.)

It might help to think of the enemy laners - especially slow-moving ones - as like another category of jungle monster you can 'farm'. You wouldn't farm a strong jungle camp or the Dragon when you are low on health and you have no smite, just because you see that it's up. Instead you will come to 'farm' it at a time when you have enough health, your smite is available, and you know that you can kill it (maybe with some help from your ally in lane). A pro jungler will also time ganks with a time when it's good for your ally in lane, looking at the position of the creep waves.

Although it's not great for team morale if your team see the enemy jungler pulling off two or three early game ganks while you are not ganking, actually it's worse for team morale if you go to attempt a gank and fail: the enemy team stops seeing you as such a threat, and your own team also. You can be sure all 3 of your lanes will know about it if you attempted a gank and failed.

Ganking makes you especially strong if you can get kills or assists early before you have your first completed item, as the early gold will help to complete the item sooner, meaning you have a power spike sooner. But don't worry too much if you have a game where the ganks don't produce kills: Shyvana also grows strong from farming (see this Cloud 9 vs Team Solo Mid game from LCS 2015 where the Shyvana is 0/1/0 at 27 minutes but has a huge gold advantage and has been a strong presence all game).

Mid season 8 patches (8.11 through to 8.15) have made major changes to the rhythm of the game in bot lane. ADCs now receive more advantages from levelling up so that an ADC who gets 1 or 2 levels ahead is more rewarded, and an ADC who gets behind has a tough time all game. ADCs and supports are (usually) both weak early compared with Shyvana and won't want to take risks, although it does depend a bit on the champions. Around levels 3-4, the ADC and support will often both be getting very low on health and mana in lane but not yet going back because the ADC wants 1300 gold on first back. This means it is worth ganking bot lane early if the setup is right. The success of your gank is going to depend mainly on whether your support lands hard CC: so good supports at this stage in the game are Leona, Nautilus, Blitzcrank, Alistar, Thresh, Pyke, Veigar. If your allies do not have an advantage (hard CC, or more health and mana than opponents) then bot lane can be Shyvana's hardest lane to gank early, she can easily die if the enemy lands CC and then both enemy laners focus her. Before ganking bot lane you need to think very carefully about the position of the enemy jungler and mid-laner: if your gank fails and then the enemy jungler or mid counter-ganks you might hand the enemy team two or even three kills.

If your gank does not immediately succeed, do not linger in lane because that is certain to draw the enemy jungler there. Shyvana needs to always keep moving and spread her pressure and the threat of her presence over the whole map, as well as keeping her own farm and XP constantly high.

Ganking checklist

So you are going to gank? Great, here are some things you want to ensure:
  1. You have Ignite or Exhaust up (if you have one of these summoners)
  2. You have Chilling Smite up
  3. Your ulti is up (post lvl 6)
  4. You have red buff
  5. You have a reasonable amount of health, at least 75%
  6. Your laner has some health and plenty of mana (if mana dependent)
  7. You know where the enemy jungler is
  8. You know where all the enemy laners are
  9. You use a Sweeping Lens or Control Ward to know whether or not you were spotted on the way in
  10. You know whether the enemy has Flash up or not.
If all these things are good, you have a much higher chance of pulling off an effective gank. You want the odds to be in your favour, and it's within your control to make it so. Don't gank randomly. Gank strategically and with some preparation. And always, always ping to show your ally what you will do: do not assume your ally is watching the mini-map, he's probably not, so it's best to ping multiple times into his lane to show the path you plan to take.

You are ganking to get kills and assists for yourself and your team: not to help out an ally who is having a hard time in lane. Making the enemy use his Flash is a good outcome from an early gank. Making the enemy low health or low mana is also an OK outcome, maybe your laner will be able to get a kill later or the enemy will be forced to B. Either way, even if you don't get the assist, your team is still ahead.

A good strategy can be to figure out which of the lanes Shyvana can gank most easily (maybe due to the lane opponent having low mobility and no escapes: for example tanky / bruiser top laners) and gank only that lane. So you gank the same lane over and over, 3 or 4 times in the early game. This should be an easy way to secure some kills, and your lane ally will become so fed that he can then go and help the other lanes which you did not gank - for example top lane can Teleport to help. See some of the videos at the end of this guide for examples.

Helping your team without ganking

So what should you be doing instead of (or as well as) ganking? Six things, as Shyvana:

1. Take Dragon - you can solo Dragon at level 5, maybe even earlier if you know what you are doing. Your aim is take the first dragon uncontested and without being spotted, and 2 dragons for your team by 16 minutes into the game. See Dragon on Dragon section for more on this.

2. Farm - yes you might be accused of AFK farming, but if you can get level 11 first and two early dragons then you will bring a lot of power to the mid-game. Stealing jungle camps is an important strategy. Steal enemy jungle camps as much as possible, it helps your own farm, sets back your opponent hugely in levels as well as gold, and it's a good place for you to be anyhow for warding (3 below) and for attempting to kill the enemy jungler (4 below).

3. Ward - ward the enemy jungle, your whole team needs to know where the enemy jungler is (also to see any enemies roaming or lane swapping). Take every Rift Scuttler, it's a free ward in a very useful place.

4. Kill the enemy jungler - hunt him down in his own jungle or the river and kill him there. This will make your laners very happy, it's a kill for your team and removes the threat of them being ganked. It's also great for morale, it makes them think "our jungler better than their jungler". It can be an easy kill, because there is no turret nearby for your opponent to retreat under, and most junglers are not at full health (especially in river, that's often where junglers come when they are low on health, looking to heal up from the Rift Scuttler or from plants). There are just a few opponent junglers who you can't kill early if both go all in, usually that's Warwick, Vi, Xin Zhao and Udyr but obviously it depends on the situation, who is fed, etc. Of course use and abuse your summoners spells to help to secure the kill.

5. Counter-gank - if a gank is taking place and you are near enough to get there in time, you may be able to turn the fight around and win a 2v2 or 3v3 - but take into account your own health level and your ally champion's abilities and health and mana in your decision-making, you don't want to hand the enemy a free double kill. Counter-ganking with Shyvana is strong because she can do a lot of damage to two opponents - even before level 6 - and if your opponents already blew all their abilities and gap-closers on attacking your ally, then it will be hard for them to escape you.

6. Take down turrets - although you are not in a lane, you are in fact the fastest turret pusher on your team. Whenever an enemy is missing from lane, you should take the opportunity to help push down that turret, it opens up the map for you as well as punishing the enemy for leaving lane. Especially you should help your mid lane in this way because most mid laners are weak against turrets: if that Outer Turret is still standing, it's down to you, not your mid laner!
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Counter-jungling means three things:
  • Hunting out and killing the enemy jungler
  • Stealing the enemy's jungle camps
  • Counter-ganking
More generally it can just mean jungling better, so having more gold, more levels, and taking all the Dragons, Rift Heralds and Barons first.

Killing the enemy jungler:

The best place to kill the enemy jungler is in the jungle, because it's probably a 1 v 1 fight which you can win, and there are no nearby towers for him to escape to. You can win the 1 v 1 fight because you have Exhaust to reduce his damage, or Ignite: against other melee junglers I also recommend Skirmisher's Sabre as your jungle item for the Challenging Smite which gives you a large advantage in a 1 v 1 duel.

Do not have tunnel vision on this jungle fight, you also need to watch the mini-map, because if any enemy laners are near enough, they will probably come to help your opponent: if one comes to help then together they can probably kill you, unless you have R or Flash to escape.

If you can kill the enemy jungler 1 v 1 that is a large benefit for your team, not only in terms of gold but also in terms of the psychological advantage, it can put the whole enemy team on tilt. It makes your team safer against ganks: your laners cannot be ganked while the enemy jungler is dead or in base and they probably won't be ganked while the enemy jungler is behind in levels and AFK farming to catch up.

See this video and this video for examples of games where the Shyvana kills the enemy jungler early and so, as a result, is able to carry all game. In both videos, getting early vision on the enemy jungler is what leads to the kill, because the Shyvana player then knows exactly where to go to find him next: it's simple if you see which side of the jungle he is coming from, because you know he just did those camps and he will next want to go into the other side of his jungle where the camps are still up. Even having vision of the enemy's small jungle camps can be enough, because if you see that a small camp is down, you know that the enemy jungler was there recently: if you know where he is not, that can help you to figure out where he is. The commentary in this video explains this quite well.

Stealing enemy jungle camps:

After clearing your own jungle, look for opportunities to steal enemy jungle camps. In Season 8, jungle camps take a long time to re-spawn, so if you steal enemy jungle camps this is definitely going to slow down your opponent's levelling and gold income (but watch for him retaliating by invading your jungle). Also generally Shyvana can complete all the camps on her side of the map and still be hungry for more jungle to farm. Exception: I generally will not steal the enemy Krugs camp, because that takes a long time and it's so close to lane that you are taking a big risk staying there: and it's in a bad spot, you can be trapped between the enemy jungler, the enemy laner and two towers, and there isn't even a jungle plant to help you jump away.

Here is an old Scarra game in Patch 6.23 where he follows a strong counter-jungling route, continually invading the Elise's jungle so that he is quickly 2 levels and then 3 levels above her. This helps his whole team, basically Elise is unable to gank because she is behind, and so all the lanes gradually pull ahead. But he makes a mistake going to the enemy Krugs camp and dies there, for reasons why this is a bad idea see above!

Invading to steal jungle camps is a very strong strategy when you are at level 5 and only need one more camp to hit level 6. You invade, and even if the enemy jungler comes, you will be level 6 to his level 5 in any fight which ensues...

After level 6, you can take enemy jungle camps whenever you want to, and you can and should do that - Shyvana can think of all the jungle camps on the map as being 'hers'. But importantly, if you do not have vision of all the enemy laners, then ward the approaches to the enemy jungle to keep yourself safe - if the enemy know you are in their jungle, they could easily send 3 people to hunt you down.

There are many advantages from stealing enemy jungle camps:
  • Whenever the enemy jungler is killed or backs, he will naturally want to go from his base into his own jungle. So you can deny him a large amount of gold and XP if those camps of his are permanently taken - you can almost completely shut him down in this way after the first mid lane turret is down so that crossing between the two enemy jungle sides becomes easy for you. Think about those games where your team has lost all 3 lanes and been pushed back to base, and you as the jungler have a hard time because then you can't get any gold - if you make it into your jungle at all you find most of the camps have been taken, sometimes even your allies take the jungle camps because they are desperate for gold as well. It sucks, and it leads to you losing even more quickly. Think about those games, and the effect it has on you as a jungler, and now try to give the enemy jungler this experience in every game...
  • Stealing jungle camps denies the enemy jungler both gold and XP. Especially you want to do this if you are ahead, for example if you are on level 6 and the enemy jungler is not yet, because he desperately needs that XP to reach his level 6 and catch up with you.
  • If the enemy team know you might be in there, it makes them play more cautiously, for example they will not pressure your lanes so hard, and they will use up more of their wards warding their own jungle, instead of warding river or warding your side of the map as they should be.
  • Being in the enemy jungle gives you a good chance of finding the enemy jungler for a 1 v 1 fight, which you want to have if you are ahead of him.
  • Being in the enemy jungle puts you in a good position for ganking lanes, because you can approach the lane from the enemy turret side, cutting off the escape and using R to push the enemy toward your own team.
  • Even if most of the enemy jungle camps are taken, you can put some deep wards into the enemy jungle which gives useful vision.
  • Shyvana takes camps so fast, when she has items, that she maybe needs to steal some enemy camps just to have an efficient route: there will be times when all of her own camps are down - especially in Season 7 when camps spawn more slowly than before.


Shyvana has fast enough movement speed, combined with her W, that if she is anywhere nearby she can often get to a lane in time to counter a gank. Put simply, when counter-ganking you are trying to do two things. First, you can save your ally from dying - for example if your ally is good enough to put both enemies on half health, and then you show up in lane on full health, the enemies will usually retreat and your ally can escape to the tower. Second, it can turn the situation around and give your team the kill.

At levels 1-6, an effective counter-gank can happen if the enemy switch their focus onto you and your ally has the skill (and mana and cooldowns) immediately to go aggressive even though he has only 50hp remaining. Shyvana can tank a bit of damage even at low levels, most enemies do not have much damage at low level after they have blown their cooldowns (there are some exceptions like Renekton and Warwick who are dangerous at all levels). But it can be risky. In solo queue, you should generally not go into situations where your survival depends on a team-mate taking certain action or following up. If the situation looks risky - two strong enemies, or your ally is on low mana or just not a good player - then you should not counter-gank even if you are nearby, your counter-gank at low level can easily give the enemy team a double kill.

From level 9 onwards, once Shyvana has two damage items, it's better for her simply to look to kill both enemies herself - they can be easy kills, if the enemies' escape abilities are on cooldown.
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Team Fights

Although she excels 1v1, Shyvana does not do so well in the tank role in 5v5 team fights. The only way she can do serious damage is to be in the center of the fight and if she's in the center of the fight she will be focused, and will probably die. She's not the best tank - there are at least 10 better tank champions in the game - and she has no hard CC and no escapes except for her ulti: but probably she used her ulti already if she's team fighting.

But ... Shyvana does AoE damage, so surely she should be really good in team fights, right? It's true that her AoE abilities can do useful damage to closely grouped opponents. But she is a melee champion and (apart from her E) her abilities only do damage to nearby opponents - it's like she does damage with her own body and its flames. This means she must always risk herself to do damage. In a straight up fight with three opponents or more, her AoE damage will not be enough to kill the opponents before they can kill her. It's the same however you build Shyvana: a tanky build can be a "damage soak" for your team but you won't be able to get many kills and can still be melted in a 5v5; and even with a higher damage build (as recommended here) Shyvana likely still will not be able to secure a kill before dying herself.

So tank-style team fighting, where you walk up to the enemies' faces or dive in as your team's initiator, is not a good idea. Even with a tanky build, Shyvana should not be played like a full tank champion: that is not her role.

If you play smarter, Shyvana can do well in 5v5 fights.
  • With allies who go all-in with her, at the exact same time, together you will do a lot of damage and should kill multiple opponents. Someone might die, but the enemy team can't focus all of you. (This works best when you play with people you know, it's hard to get the timing correct in solo queue.)
  • Shyvana can peel effectively for her carries, by simply killing any melee champion who attempts to dive them - late game Shyvana is a very effective counter to Zed, Master Yi, Riven and other squishy melee hyper carries (also to Katarina).
  • In a similar way Shyvana is good at flanking: that means using her mobility to approach the enemy team from the side or the rear, she can take one enemy out of the fight and maybe turn the fight around, she can also catch out an opponent who is retreating from the fight at low health.
  • With allies who can hold a team-fight without you then Shyvana can wait on the side until she is late into the fight - maybe even the last person to commit to the fight. Then at a good moment she can ulti in and do a burst of AoE damage, and clean up multiple enemies, at a time when the enemy team's abilities are mostly on cooldown so there's not much they can do back to her. This style of team-fighting works well for Shyvana, for the same reasons that she is strong in counter-ganks. It's kind of a selfish way to play, but it's very effective both in solo queue and in teams.

    Here is Cloud 9's Hai doing this in a LCS Summer 2015 match. See also this game-changing Baron fight in another LCS 2015 game. Finally, this video of Hai as Shyvana in a non-competitive game has him, again, using his ulti to go late into a team fight 1v4 - and he does the same thing again later in the same game.
Tactics like this mean that Shyvana can sometimes carry games hard with a high number of kills, but it depends on your team. It's not always going to work out like this, and sometimes you will have to avoid all fights and earn your kills by operating alone.

It's best to fight an enemy at the side of a team fight, positioned so that Shyvana is on the outside of the enemy, facing towards the fight. That way, Shyvana's area of effect damage from E and Q (in dragon form) and from Titanic Hydra will be able to damage multiple enemies behind the main target. It also makes it easier for Shyvana to activate W and retreat from the fight if you don't like the way things are going.

Every team fight has a rhythm, often it goes like this:
  1. Someone dives or applies CC to initiate
  2. Full engage from both teams and all initiating abilities used, a lot of CC is flying around
  3. Back line (e.g. AP champions) moves forward to apply damage
  4. Anyone left alive falls back to a skirmishing position (or disengages at low health)
  5. Losers retreat, winners chase
Shyvana wants to join the fight at step 3. Not step 1. You can think of Shyvana joining at step 3 as a counter-initiation, or a peel, it's both of those things at the same time.

Team fighting in more detail

Other approaches to team fighting

The power of split-pushing

Sometimes you will want to join your team and fight because your presence will strengthen the team and secure some kills, and sometimes you have to team-fight, because you're contesting Dragon, Baron or a turret, or similar situations.

But - especially if you are carrying hard - it's often best for Shyvana not to be team-fighting most of the time, but instead to split-push hard and roam. This split-pushing pressure helps your team more than if you are team-fighting.

If you are pushing a tower or inhibitor, while the opponents are grouped in mid lane attacking your team or a turret, the opponents now basically have 3 choices.
  • First choice is to ignore you, in which case great, you just took an inhib.
  • Second choice is to send one person (probably their strongest) to stop you, in which case that person will die.
  • Third choice is to send 2 or (safer) 3 people to deal with you, in which case they just pulled out of the team-fight.
Shyvana is well suited to split-pushing - definitely one of the top 3 champions in the game for this - for multiple reasons:
- she can wave-clear extremely quickly, so allowing allied minion waves to push up the map to help her
- she can take down turrets and inhibitors very fast (especially with the higher damage builds)
- she can tank a few turret shots if necessary (and can easily heal up in the jungle
afterwards, thanks to lifesteal)
- she can 1v1 any enemy who comes to try to stop her, probably even 1v2 if it is not the
strongest members of the enemy team
- she has the mobility to get to objectives quickly
- if the whole enemy team comes for her, she can probably still escape using R and W.

If you are playing as Shyvana in the jungle, after the game has gone beyond 20 minutes you really need to think of all enemy turrets which are still standing as being your primary responsibility to take down. There's no need to be polite and leave them for your allies in lane!
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Dragon on Dragon

The new Season 10 dragons are here! The changes from Season 9 in a nutshell:
  • Each individual dragon gives weaker team bonuses compared with Season 9 (but Shyvana's own passive bonuses are unchanged)
  • Cloud drake no longer gives movement speed bonuses, now it gives cooldown reduction on the team's ultimates, this is great for some of your allies but useless for Shyvana herself.
  • Mountain drake no longer grants bonus damage against Baron and turrets, instead it now grants strong tanky bonuses to your whole team, this is a good change.
  • Ocean drake has removed its mana regen, so it's still sucky and now it isn't even good in the early laning phase.
  • The first two drakes have lower health, so most junglers can take the first before level 6 - start taking them early for a chance to get 4 drakes. Riot are expecting earlier and more frequent dragon contests.
  • Taking 4 dragons as a team gains your team a huge extra permanent buff, the 'Dragon Soul'. The team buff depends on the element of the rift (see next). Infernal: every attack or ability does extra +130 hp AoE damage, resets every 3 seconds - this is huge. Mountain: enter combat with a 300hp shield - this is huge. Ocean: doing damage slowly heals players and restores mana - this is awesome for your casters and your support, meh for Shyvana. Cloud: permanent +10% movement speed, or +30% in Dragon Form - this is huge for Shyvana, she shines with movement bonuses.
  • When the second dragon is taken, the map changes to the 'Elemental Rift'. The element matches the third drake and the fourth drake (and fifth if there is time for one) will also be the same as the third drake. This element decides the 4-drake 'Dragon Soul' buff. This element also changes the jungle map in some interesting ways near the blue and red buff pits: Infernal lowers a wall so you can walk into the pits from the back, Mountain adds a wall so the jungle paths are narrower, Cloud adds speedup in that area similar to the Rift Scuttler, Ocean adds extra brush.

As Shyvana I make it a point of pride to take every Dragon. Shyvana doesn't like people killing dragons - obviously - but if anyone is going to do it, she wants it to be her. There's an important reason for a Shyvana player to take all the Dragons, each one taken by her or her team gives Shyvana +5 armor and MR from her passive (so each Dragon is worth around 300 gold to her from these free stats, on top of any bonus for the team as a whole: +5 armor = 150 gold).

Shyvana received a small buff at the start of Season 9 giving her bonus damage to dragons, so she takes dragons very fast, even solo. It's very nice if you have a chance to take a Dragon at level 4, but that's not going to be possible in all games. Taking an early dragon depends on good knowledge of the enemy jungler's movements, so keep a good eye on your minimap and allies' early pings, you want to figure out which side of the map he is on at all times, and which of his camps are up. If he is on the top side, you can go directly to Dragon after your first back, at level 3 or level 4 (take 1 camp on your way to Dragon if you need to level up to level 4). Swap your trinket for Oracle Lens on first back, that's very important to see whether the Dragon pit is warded, although most enemy teams will not ward the pit this early.

In this way, usually Shyvana can get to the first Dragon earlier than the enemy jungler: the only exceptions are Elise and Warwick, you can find that these two sometimes take a Dragon even earlier than Shyvana, so make sure to ward the dragon pit from around 6 minutes against these if you are not taking the dragon yourself (Vi in the jungle, and Heimerdinger and Kalista laners can also take drakes very fast).

Why Solo Dragon?

Tips and tricks:
  • If taking an early Dragon it's generally best if your team-mates do not help, unless they are already in river. If bot or mid come to help, the enemy will see them leave lane and so will know you are attempting drake. If the enemy come, you are at great risk of being killed because you are on low health, and however good you are with Smite it's basically a 50/50 chance for which team gets the Dragon if both junglers are present. If your team-mates do not leave lane and the opponents are not experienced playing against Shyvana then you can often take an early drake without being detected.
  • The safest time to take Dragon is just after your mid lane killed an opponent, when bot laners on both sides are all in lane. The enemy jungler is very unlikely to come to Dragon then - most enemy junglers are not capable of soloing Dragon before level 7, and they will not want to pull their bot laners away from lane when your mid laner is free to roam making any river fight 4 v 3. Depending on where he is at the time, the enemy jungler will either try to counter-attack your mid who is low health, or he will stay farming his own jungle, or he will try to get a revenge gank on top lane. The best that can happen is you find the enemy jungler in the river taking the Scuttle Crab (to protect his bot lane in case your mid roams) in which case you get to have a full health fight with the enemy jungler, with your mid nearby and free to leave lane to help.
  • If you get vision of the enemy jungler in top lane, that's a very good time to take drake.
  • Generally it is best not to go to gank bot lane prior to taking first Dragon, even though you are close to them and you can see they would benefit from the help. (I disagree with the commentary in this Master level video - he says in the commentary he should have gone to help bot lane, but actually what he does, taking the Dragon solo, is the better play.) If you go to gank, you are likely to lose most of your health when doing it, so then you will have to back: this means you lose time, you lose the opportunity to take Dragon uncontested, you probably used your ultimate which is your safe escape, and you gave the enemy jungler valuable information (now he knows you have level 6 and items, and he knows you are interested in Dragon). Exceptionally, if you check the lane and you see that you can get an easy kill in bottom lane if you gank, and if your mid lane is also free to roam, then do the gank - probably then the surviving enemy bot laner will have to back, you will be on 50% health, but you and your bot lane together can take the Dragon quickly.
  • For second Dragon it's good to have help, because the enemy team will likely contest it (their jungler will be watching the timer, because he's angry he didn't get the first Dragon).
  • If sneaking an early Dragon use a Control Ward to check Dragon pit is not warded. You can also tell whether you have been seen by watching the mini-map: if you start Dragon and there is no reaction at all from the enemy mid lane and bot lane - so they all stay in their lanes - then it's a safe bet you have not been seen.
  • If on the mini-map you see enemies deliberately start to move towards you, get out of there, fast, you have definitely been seen and the enemies will reach you before your allies come (because the enemy started moving first, and your allies will only move after): if you stay you will likely die in a 3v1 or 4v1 and give the enemy team a free early Dragon.
  • If you are in the dragon pit and you see an enemy Stealth ward being placed, get out of there immediately, or (if allies are nearby) at least pull the drake well out into the river - a stealth ward means the enemy jungler is just on the other side of the wall, waiting until you and the Dragon are both nice and low, then he will come into the pit and kill you and take the drake.
  • Do not start first Dragon if you do not have sight of all enemy laners.
  • If you lose sight of enemy bot lane and jungler, ping your allies to collapse on Dragon together with you, do not go to contest it alone if you think the enemy jungler is there. Although it's super annoying to lose a Dragon, it's even worse to suicide againt the enemy team and then lose the Dragon anyhow, so sometimes you just have to give a Dragon up.
  • Always go away and come back later if the enemy team has an active Rift Scuttler ward there.
  • On blue side you do not need to take the Rift Scuttler before taking first Dragon, because you do not need this as an escape route: if you are level 6 you can escape out of the pit over the wall. Not taking Rift Scuttler reduces the chance that you will be detected, because an enemy jungler coming through the river will generally take Rift Scuttler first if he sees it's not taken, before checking / warding the Dragon pit. While he's taking the Rift Scuttler he actually can't see into the Dragon pit, if you stand between the Dragon and the wall. This can be hilarious if he's there in the river close to you and still doesn't see you taking drake, until it's too late to stop you... This video included in my general jungle guide has a nice example of this at 04:27 in the video, the Tryndamere walks past without seeing Shyvana.
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Shyvana tips

1. ___Key tip: Most of Shyvana's damage comes from basic attacks enhanced by Q and on-hit effects. Her main damage is not from her W, and definitely not from her E. You must therefore position yourself to use basic attacks on your target. Trinity Force and Phantom Dancer can help with this: these items help you to be in, and stay in, a good melee position in fights and when chasing down opponents.

2. ___With a high damage build, Shyvana does so much damage that it will surprise your opponents. With BotRK she also heals from lifesteal as long as she can hit her basic attacks. If caught in a bad situation, instead of retreating, attack hard. You can kill a squishy opponent in 3 hits. Pretending to retreat into brush, then turning and attacking hard once your Q is off cooldown, can be a great tactic - see Self-baiting combo.

3. ___Use attack move as well as regular right-click move in fights, similar to the way that a kiting enemy will use stutter-step (orb-walking): you want to be always moving around your enemy in fights, to be in the best position and to make it harder for the enemy to land skill shots on you. Practice doing this on large monsters when you are taking jungle camps, it will also slightly reduce the damage you take while jungling (because if you move, the jungle monster has to move before attacking you and sometimes it also gets itself minion blocked).

4. ___Watch the mini-map for free XP, for example an enemy minion wave reaching an allied turret which is undefended. Even if you can't get there in time to kill the minions for gold, if you can even get close youo can pick up the XP from minion deaths. And you can pick up some free XP from minions in lane if you stand fully inside the Raptors camp while taking it. Later in the game, look for enemy minion super-waves (2 or 3 minion waves which have clumped together), Shyvana has so much AoE damage that she can kill those very quickly, for free gold and a lot of XP. Also look to kill enemy wards - killing wards now grants you XP (so a jungler can level up faster with a Sweeping Lens than with a Stealth Ward). Do everything you can to get XP, Shyvana loves XP.

5. ___Map awareness: As well as always keeping one eye on the mini-map, you need to be watching your lanes while you are taking jungle camps and en route between camps. While taking a camp you do not need to watch Shyvana on screen to activate your Q and W abilities: you can still activate those abilities just by button pressing when you see they are off cooldown. Attack Move can also help you take camps automatically without needing to watch. The F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 camera control buttons are a handy way to watch lanes: figure out each game which button is which of your laners, then hit F1 to bring the camera back to yourself. You do not need to toggle camera lock (Y) if you use F1 instead.

6. ___Do not tower dive before level 6. Unless you took Flash, you have no way to escape from under a tower quickly enough to avoid taking 3 turret shots, which will kill you. Even if you secure a kill, it's not worth dying for that due to the loss of gold and XP during the time it takes to respawn and walk out onto the map again. (Exception: if you have minions or an ally taking the turret shots on your way in, then you can run in, Q the enemy, and then activate W to run out by the shortest route, and you might only take 1 turret shot.) After level 6, tower diving becomes viable for Shyvana, especially in dragon form and once you start to build armor items.

7. ___You can solo Baron (or Elder Dragon) with the suggested long game build - any Earth Dragon buff also helps. This isn't amazing, a lot of champions can solo Baron with Bloodthirster, it's much more impressive when you don't have Bloodthirster. When soloing Baron, use R to initiate on it, then you will be in dragon form for the whole Baron fight so you can tank its damage better. (In contrast, if taking Baron with your team, do not use R, save it in case opponents arrive to try to stop you.) If soloing Baron you can use double smite to take it down faster (smite once at the start of the fight, and again at the end: the second smite is available after 15 seconds).

8. __You can solo turrets without minions when you have the suggested long game build, you can literally walk up to an Inhibitor Turret and take it down from 100-0. (With an Inner Turret it's best to retreat after tanking a few turret shots and come in again because each turret shot does increasing damage.) Very few champions can do this. Remember to activate W when attacking turrets even if there are no enemy minions nearby, for the buff to your auto attacks.

9. __At game start with your W you can reach river before any other champion, this can be useful for preparing an invade or just for checking which camp the enemy jungler starts on. Using W again should allow you to retreat out of range towards mid lane even if spotted by the enemy team. If your team does a full level 1 invade (or if you get invaded) W combined with Exhaust or Ignite and basic attacks can be enough to take a level 1 kill.

10. __If stealing enemy Wolves or Raptors camps, especially early game, you can optionally not clear all the small monsters so that the camp does not respawn. This leaves behind a small amount of gold, and blocks your opponent from having gold and XP when he next comes to that camp. It's a powerful strategy in Season 7 where camps take a long time to respawn. But it doesn't work on Krugs: the small krugs will disappear if not taken within a reasonably short time.

11. __Always give up blue buff to any team-mate who needs it, its only benefit on Shyvana is cooldown reduction. I will usually offer all the blue buffs, including the early ones, to a mana-dependent mid like Lux, this starts to build good team co-operation if you are in solo queue.

12. __Late game, if using jungle camps or minions to heal up from lifesteal, do not use your W or your E. You will gain more from lifesteal if you use basic attacks and [/color]Q only, and at the same time your Fury bar will build faster - to put it another way, the camps die too quickly if you use W and E. Advanced tip: If you're desperate for lifesteal and only one jungle camp is up, you can bait it out, 90% kill it, then let it reset and repeat - you can heal to full health off one camp like this.[/color]

13. __You have power spikes at:
  • Level 1 - because W does a lot of damage for an early spell, it's hard for enemies to run from it before they have their dash abilities, and maybe you also have Exhaust or Ignite
  • Level 3 - because you have your full ability combo and most other champions are becoming low on mana at this point
  • Level 6 - because you have your ulti available immediately
  • Levels 7-18 - because Shyvana.
14. __To play Shyvana well, you need to know your strength against other champions at various different stages of the game. This is hard, as it is so different throughout the game: if you just won a game where you stomped all over a Zed or a Yasuo at level 12, that doesn't mean that you can take them next game at level 6. Especially you need to play cautiously before you have your completed Titanic Hydra. When that item is complete you have a huge power spike in terms of damage dealt, as well as your defences. Before then you need to be somewhat patient. Early game you can kill opportunistically, and you can 1v1 most enemy junglers if nobody else comes, but you have to run from 2v1 situations and watch the map carefully in case of roams. Mid game and late game you can play more fearlessly. After you have 2 or 3 items, go to look for and kill the strongest enemy in a way that he can't do anything about it - so he's farming in lane at full health, you show up, he is dead with no escape. If the enemy Zed or Katarina is afraid to go roaming the map alone in case they find you, you just took away all their power and won the game already.

15. __If you're struggling as Shyvana, it's probably because you are not doing things fast enough. In the early game, there's no time to relax, you need to think of it as a race to level 6 and every jungle camp as a contested objective, you have to take advantage of the speed Shyvana takes camps, and your movement speed, to do everything faster so that you're in a good place to steal camps or do other more aggressive stuff.

16. __If you're dying to an ADC who kites you - this will happen if the ADC is more skilled than you, or more fed than you - then stop trying to solo kill the enemy ADC, just focus on the other enemies who you can more easily kill. You can also look at a Ninja Tabi + Randuin's Omen + Thornmail build which will counter every ADC, but that is going to leave you vulnerable to magic damage.
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General jungling tips

For some more general jungling tips, all good for Shyvana, please see my older Season 6 Jungling Guide. That has the following chapters:

Much of that content used to be part of this Shyvana guide, but it was making this way too long for any casual Shyvana players to read!
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Which skin you choose can make a small difference to your results in a game, for whatever reason - confidence and your enjoyment of the game, or just the impression of you that your allies and opponents get in the loading screen before they've even seen you play.

I don't much like the Classic skin on Shyvana. The blue skin is kinda ugly, and this skin (but not the others) makes an unpleasant loud flame sound when your W is proccing and the flames damage any target. However, I do sometimes choose this skin when Shyvana is on free rotation, if I want opponents to think I am new to the champion and so under-estimate my skills.

The Boneclaw skin is cute, the human and dragon form models both look good. The W flames animation is similar to the classic skin, in dragon form maybe a little duller coloured and not too many flames on the ground, so it can be hard for opponents to see it - they can maybe walk on it without realising its extent.

Many good Shyvana players like the Ice Drake or Championship skins. The blue spell effects look cool but the Burnout circle of flames is very visible, making it very obvious what the range is. That's useful for you if you don't play the champion too often - a lot of high elo players play 30 or more different champions - but it also helps the enemies, and if you main Shyvana then you should know the range of your spells instinctively. The Ice Drake skin has a great look in Dragon Form but it changes all the sounds into something lighter and more delicate and icy, so that it's hard to hear your E hit with this skin, and for that reason I don't like it so much.

The Darkflame skin is the sneakiest, because the spell animations (especially W) are darker in colour and so harder to see.

Personally I don't see any advantage of the Ironscale skin, it is my least favourite, the W animation has a circle around the outside making it too obvious to enemies what the range is, and in dragon form the dragon (wyvern) wearing armor just does not look right!

The newest skin is Super Galaxy Shyvana, here are some images - even though it's not a traditional look, I like it a lot, the spells animations look great and the recall animation is very fine.

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Here are some Shyvana videos which I like. The first two are from Season 8 and demonstrate a lot of the points made in this guide. I have also included some older videos (some are even from Season 5), selected because they showcase Shyvana's best strategy for ganking, counter-ganking and counter-jungling generally - you can learn something from all of these videos.

So this guy is a Challenger smurfing in Diamond 1 tier. You can expect him to have an easy time! But actually there are no amazing outplays here, all he is doing is playing Shyvana correctly and watching the map. It's a good demo of many of the points covered in this guide. The build is damage focused with Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor, Titanic Hydra and Frozen Mallet. See how he's basically all over the J4: when J4 appears top at 02:30 he counterganks and gets a kill. At 06:20 he anticipates the J4 coming to gank mid-lane, uses his R to counter-gank and gets a nice double kill. At 17:00 he's split pushing top while his team takes mid turret, the enemy send two people to deal with him, and he still kills one before he dies.

Another Challenger-level game. This player has an excellent farming technique on Shyvana (he must have practised hard in practice games) - probably the best I've seen. See how he kites the camps exactly right, to take almost no damage while not delaying his attacks. At Level 2 watch him take the Blue Sentinel and Gromp simultaneously, after dragging the Blue Sentinel over (like a Fiddlesticks clear). He has some other nice moves. He uses Flash aggressively only - at 24:05 he R-Flashes into the enemy base to reach the Xerath who thought he was safe, ha ha.

The main thing to learn from this one is he never gives up and never retreats. If he wants an objective, he takes it. At 22:25 see the team take Baron, even while Xerath is pouring damage onto them from over the wall. See Shyvana over and over go back into a fight on less than 25% health. At 23:30 see him take mid-lane Inner Turret even while it's defended, he just goes in a couple more times and hits it again.

He does not gank before level 6, but he is not simply AFK farming, he shows himself in river and in lane a few times and creates threat (as well as taking Fire Drake solo and very early at 4:30 of game time).

This was not an easy game to win. The Rengar hard-feeds early, so Camille gets fed and the enemy start with a 0-5 lead: Rengar is 0-7-0 to start with. And the Kha'Zix is good - the Shyvana does not dare invade while Kha'Zix is alive. But Shyvana just keeps on going, keeps farming herself up, keeps taking objectives, and she ganks or joins team fights whenever R is up. A beautiful 12-3-12 score to finish with.

There are some mistakes. She makes a bizarre decision to solo drake on low health at 13:22 without checking whether it is warded; the enemy Tristana immediately jumps in and messes her up, Shyvana dies and loses the Dragon. Later there is a very greedy chase of Kha'Zix deep into enemy jungle at 19:35 when Kha is obviously baiting. Shyvana gets herself and 2 allies killed for that, and loses another Dragon.

Early route: half-clear then back for an early Hunter's Talisman then dragon at level 4 (respect!) Full build: Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor - Frozen Mallet - Ninja Tabi - Locket of the Iron Solari - Randuin's Omen. The Locket was a very strong item in Patch 8.5 for a champion who built heavy bonus health, its shield also scales off Shyvana's dragon form bonus health. Note the item has been nerfed from Patch 8.7 making it weaker late game now but it's still a fine item for mid-game team fights.

Here is a full game of AnkleSpankin playing Shyvana in Pre-Season 8, it's a good overall introduction to the champion with plenty of commentary on how to play her. He power farms up to level 6 and then starts visiting the lanes fairly aggressively. As with the previous video, Frozen Mallet is his first big item. In my opinion this is your best item if your allies are competent and working well with you, but in solo queue and lower elo where you might need to carry the whole game by yourself, Titanic Hydra is better for higher burst damage. Some of my builds take both these items :)

A short video with a basic introduction to the champion and her abilities. It covers a lot of the main points in a 6 minute video. The commentary is from IWillDominate, one of the best junglers in the world - an excellent Season 5 game with him is below. Bear in mind that the rune and mastery advice in an old video like this is not going to be relevant for Season 8.

A Patch 7.1 game from Korea. Look at the heavy counter-jungling: he starts at his Red Buff, then steals the enemy Blue Buff and Gromp. (Hecarim tries to respond by stealing Shyvana's Blue Buff, but gets caught there by the bottom lane.) He steals Hecarim's jungle camps over and over, prioritising this even over taking first drake. He also gains XP whereever possible, for example standing in lane near minion deaths to catch some extra XP while backing. He follows this build path: Skirmisher's Sabre -> Frozen Mallet -> Guardian Angel.

Another Patch 7.1 game from Korea, this one featuring MaRin. See how every jungle camp is a contested objective. Here versus the Elise, you can see these guys fighting over which one of them will get a Gromp. Over and over, every Red Buff is contested when it comes up. The Shyvana manages to take all three Dragons though, with a very nice level 4 Dragon. :)

MaRin here follows an Enchantment: Cinderhulk + Wit's End build, he has only those two items for the majority of the game, and he wants the MR against an Elise and a fed Cassiopeia mid. (In the last few seconds he buys a Rabadon's Deathcap - don't worry guys, he's trolling there!) Actually I think his build would have been better if he'd rushed the Wit's End first and then taken Cinderhulk second: that would have given him more DPS for taking objectives, he might have won some of those contested camps...

Look also at 17:25 in the video, there's a 2 v 2 fight going on, and then the enemy Lucian shows up: Shyvana and Bard immediately switch their focus to Lucian who is the most dangerous. Shyvana ults aggressively to kill Lucian quickly while he is using his ult, she's then in Dragon form and strong enough that the 2 remaining opponents (Elise and Alistar) back off.

This is a Gold V game (from late Season 5) with a rare "coaching" style commentary on the Rengar from NightBlue3, a popular streamer and former pro jungler (substitute for Team Solo Mid in 2014). It includes pauses and slow-motion replays at key moments. The commentary is full of excellent tips for any jungler wanting to climb ranked - all of the general comments are still relevant for Season 8. The Rengar loses to a Shyvana who outplays him all game and there is some commentary on her. You can see the Shyvana's exact route from the mini-map and all her early-game kills and counter-jungling are shown.

Comments on the Shyvana build

"That Shyvana will eat you alive."
"Do you have a death wish? Dude if you want a hug, you don't have to get it from a dragon who's two levels higher than you. Go hug a teddy bear or something."
"You don't give Shyvana hugs."

A Pro level game (without commentary) where the Shyvana play is a work of art. Everyone should watch the first 20 minutes of this game to see how Shyvana is played properly.

Game details

A late S5 game with Bengi in solo queue playing Shyvana and carrying hard. This older game showcases Shyvana counter-ganking, he counter-ganks at least 4 times in top lane. You can also see him team fighting with a "counter-ganking" / "flanking" style (see Team Fights section of this guide), meaning he is last to dive in to the fight and cleans up.

Switch off the sound and just watch the gameplay. The video is in French (the title means something like OMG he's going to report me for counter-jungling so much). Even if you understand French you might want to switch off the sound for this one... This guy counter-jungles the Udyr early, very very effectively. He's also extremely fast, there is zero hesitation and he just takes camp after camp after camp, he is always doing something: it's an excellent showcase for how fast Shyvana can be. Also look out for his kill on a retreating Janna at 17:54: it's very pleasing.

Game details

A Master level game from the Brazilian server, with a full game commentary - the detailed commentary contains some good tips on jungle vision, counter-jungling, and general strategy when you are carrying a game.

Game details

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Shyvana history

From patch to patch and season to season, Shyvana has varied between being a god-tier jungler and being fairly middling, tenth best or worst. Actually I think she stays fairly constant in power, what is changing is the strength of the other junglers around her.

Back in early Season 6, Shyvana was probably the most powerful jungler, as she was one of the champions making best use of the Devourer jungle item enchantment with its massive on-hit damage, and due to her strong farm she was also able to complete that item sooner than most.

She dropped down a bit later in Season 6, when Devourer was replaced by Bloodrazor and also Blade of the Ruined King was nerfed.

Season 7 saw a re-work of Shyvana, which overall buffed her in some small ways, through improving her mechanics, increasing her E damage and making her slightly less vulnerable to crowd control. In addition, the Blade of the Ruined King was restored to the powerful item it was in Season 5 - that's 8% current health as on-hit damage.

Exact details of BotRK have been changed slightly in Season 8, but the % health on-hit damage remains. This means that with this item and Bloodrazor, on a target marked by Flame Breath, Shyvana's basic fast combo (auto-attack + Q) does 24% current health + 20% max health damage, as bonus on-hit damage. That's a lot of damage.

The build shown in this guide give best advantage to Shyvana's on-hit damage.

Re-work details

Playing Shyvana after Patch 6.23

In Patch 7.1 Riot made a nasty little nerf, reducing Shyvana's burnout (W) damage to jungle camps - though there is no change to her damage to champions. This will make a difference to early clear times and Shyvana will take more damage in her first clear, and will have a hard time if anything goes wrong early - so use your wards! You will notice this nerf most at Wolves, Raptors and Krugs - you now do not have enough damage to clear out the small Raptors with one use of W (at least not before level 5 or building an AD item like Tiamat). At low level, Shyvana is therefore no longer the fastest jungle clearer, though she overtakes others from around level 5.

At the same time, Riot have reduced the healing from Smite, and adjusted the XP from early jungle camps so you will need to clear 3 full camps to reach level 3 (no tricks to reach a fast level 3 with a Rift Scuttler), and you will now need to clear 5 full camps and something else like a Rift Scuttler to reach level 4. This change affects your jungle opponent equally. This change is therefore actually helpful for a good Shyvana player, meaning that if she takes the risk of invading and stealing camps, she can hold her opponent back in levels even more strongly - it's now especially good to steal one of the opponent's buffs early, you can delay his first gank. This change certainly reduces your opponent jungler's ability to gank lanes at levels 3 and 4. This change is therefore helpful for Shyvana, because Shyvana doesn't usually gank much in the early game - so the change makes it less likely that your jungle opponent will gank lanes several times before you have ganked at all.

Generally a jungler is going to be under-levelled, in Seasons 7 and 8 (especially since Patch 8.10), compared with top and mid lanes - the jungler should have about the same level as the ADC. It can't be said too often: Shyvana's best strategy is therefore to invade and steal camps, because that keeps her levelled up, while at the same time slowing down the opponent jungler.
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Thank you to the writers of older guides, I have learned a lot from you.

Thank you to the makers of the videos included above, they are fine showcases for Shyvana play: commentary from high elo and Pro players is always appreciated.

Thank you to Steven DeRose "Coronach" at Riot and his team who designed Shyvana (and other great looking champions like Elise and Zyra). Shyvana still has some of the best animation in the game, and it looks even better since the 2015 re-work. I love the way this champion moves, in human form and in dragon form. It makes it a pleasure to be watching your own champion on the screen.

This guide was created in September 2015. Please do ask questions or let me know in the comments if there is something you don't agree with. If something here helps you I would really appreciate your vote, I have put a lot of playing time and analysis into developing these ideas and recommendations for you guys!

You may also be interested in my Camille jungle guide.
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