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League of Legends Build Guide Author RobRob031

RobRob's Complete Guide to Shen

RobRob031 Last updated on February 12, 2011
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Ability Sequence

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

Not Updated For Current Season

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


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 1

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

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

Utility: 8

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Welcome to my complete guide to Shen, The Eye of Twilight. Shen is an amazing tank who has a lot of utility and survivability. He may be a daunting challenge and it definitely takes a lot of practice to master his skills and use them correctly. This guide is not made to be the end-all be-all for all knowledge of Shen and the information given in this guide is a product of my play style and experience playing Shen. I hope that you take something away from this guide and put it to good use, no matter if you are a casual Shen player or if you would like to play him at a competitive level.

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Skill List

Ki Strike (Passive):
A massively underrated ability, and the reason we try to have as much health as we can without it being a danger if the enemy team buys a Madred's Bloodrazor. The most important thing to note about this skill is that, while the base cooldown is 8 seconds, whenever an enemy CHAMPION hits you, the cooldown is reduced by 2 seconds.

Vorpal Blade:
Another underrated ability. Use it to:
1. Regenerate HP in the laning phase.
2. Harass enemies.
3. Last hit creep from a distance.
4. Allow teammates to regenerate HP while hitting the focus target in a team fight.
5. Regenerate HP while jungling (see jungling section for more detail).

If you want to master Shen, this is one of the key abilities that you must master first. It is a massive damage mitigation skill and will help you get out of many sticky situations including:
1. Karthus ult when you are low HP? Pop feint and laugh at him.
2. Ryze jumps out of a bush and tries to nuke you? Pop feint and laugh at him too!
3. Use it in a team fight after you taunt to mitigate incoming damage.

Shadow Dash:
There are SO MANY different things you can do with this skill for. You can use it to interrupt nasty ultimates like Nunu and Katarina, taunt enemy carries off of your squishies, and most importantly, it is an amazing escape/initiate tool.

Stand United (Ultimate):
This is the reason you play Shen and it is easily one of the best ultimates in the game, in my opinion. Proper use of this spell can change a teamfight or even an entire game. As with Pantheon and Twisted Fate's ultimates, it can easily turn a 2v1 into a 2v2, save your squishies, or you can even use it as an escape tool.

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Summoner Spells

My personal choices: Flash/Exhaust

Viable Summoner Spells:

Ghost: A very useful summoner spell. It can be used to chase and kite, get to a team fight faster, or even just to move around the map quickly.

Exhaust: With the recent nerf, I find this spell a bit less useful against physical carries, but at the same time a lot more useful against spell carries. It can be used to chase and kite as well as let your team catch up to a fleeing enemy.

Ignite: A good spell, especially in the early game. While I was experimenting with this, I got a lot of early first bloods and found that it was quite effective for shutting down characters with lots of HP regen or lifesteal, such as Dr. Mundo or Warwick.

Flash: This is one of the best summoner spells in the game. It allows you to position well, chase, kite, escape, or get around the map quickly. It has a fairly long cooldown, but it can also go through walls that your Shadow Dash can't, so it can be quite useful. It can also allow you to juke an enemy by first Dashing or Flashing through the wall, then using whatever isn't on cooldown to jump back through after your enemy follows you, leaving you on opposite sides again.

Fortify: Another useful spell, but I would only recommend using it in a premade group.

Cleanse: A useful spell, especially in ranked. I take this spell if the enemy is really heavy CC. It allows me to escape ganks or help my teammates in team fights by taking the brunt of the CC and cleansing it off so that the carries on my team can do damage freely.

Smite: See the Jungling section.

Less Useful Summner Spells:

Heal: Useful for baiting and for healing in low-level team fights. Everyone who plays this game can honestly say that they've been heal-baited at least once, and it's annoying as all hell.

Teleport: Useful for map control and getting out of sticky situations. It can allow you to teleport to wards, Teemo mushrooms, Shaco Jack-in-the-Boxes, and a few other things. This allows you to teleport in and out of key places on the map, but I don't recommend this unless you don't want something more useful or unless you are in a premade.

Rally: If you want a rally, get a Taric.

Revive: I can see practical uses for this, but the only one worth noting is if you want to initiate, die, revive, and then ult to someone. Again, I wouldn't take this spell unless you don't want something more useful or unless you are in a premade.

Clarity: Mana? What mana?

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I take a 1/21/8 style build. The important masteries are as follows:


Cripple: Exhaust also reduces enemy armor and magic resistance by 10 for the duration, also increases duration by 0.5 sec.


Nimbleness: Increases movement speed by 10% after dodging an attack.
Veteran's Scars: Increases champion HP by 48.
Tenacity: Decreases all damage taken by 4%.


Haste: Increases Ghost movement speed by 6%, increases duration by 1.5 sec. Very important if you choose Ghost as a summoner spell.
Awareness: Increases experience gained by 5%.

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There are multiple rune build combinations that you can use for Shen, making him a very versatile tank. I prefer using HP/level marks and seals, magic resist/level glyphs, and flat HP quintessences. These runes are best suited to my play-style and I urge you to experiment to figure out what works best for you.

9x Greater Mark of Vitality
9x Greater Seal of Vitality
9x Greater Glyph of Shielding
3x Greater Quintessence of Fortitude

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Skill Sequence

This section is completely team dependent. If you are on a premade team, your skill sequence should look something like this:

Q > E > Q > W > E > R > E > W > E > W > R > E > W > Q > W > R > Q > Q

This build allows you to have quick, hard-hitting Vorpal Blades while levelling taunt first to aid your teammates in teamfights, but you lose some survivability with not levelling Feint as soon as possible.

If you are in solo que, you may want to follow a skilling order like this:

Q > W > Q > E > W > R > W > Q > W > Q > R > W > Q > E > E > R > E > E

This build allows you to take advantage of heavy Vorpal Blades and the great survivability of maxing Feint first while still having taunt for teamfights.

If you are playing Twisted Treeline, the build is a bit different:

Q > W > Q > E > Q > R > Q > E > Q > E > R > E > E > W > W > R > W > W

This build allows you to have heavy damage output while still remaining useful for teamfights with regards to taunts, however you sacrifice some survivability again by not maxing Feint first.

For jungling build, go to the Jungling section.

Once again, these builds are by no means the end-all be-all for skilling orders. You should be analysing the enemy team and adapting your skilling order to match what you need to stay useful.

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Item Discussion

Your item build should basically never be the same twice. In every game there will be different champions who do different amounts of damage, so to optimize your survivability in each game you must have different item builds tailored to the enemy team.

For example, if the enemy team has Amumu (jungle), Kassadin, Tryndamere, Sivir, and Ryze, I'm going to have a hard time itemizing for everyone. However, if one of them (let's say Kassadin) starts to feed and get more powerful than the rest of his teammates, I'm going to capitalize on Magic Resist so that I can mitigate as much damage as possible from Kassadin.
That being said, here are some general item builds for different team compositions.

Starting items:

Boots + 3x HP potion
Ruby Crystal
Cloth Armor + 5x HP potion

Standard Team (Tank/2 Physical/2 Caster):

Mercury Treads, Randuin's Omen, Aegis of the Legion, Banshee's Veil, Force of Nature, Guardian Angel

Physical Heavy Team:

Mercury Treads, Randuin's Omen, Aegis of the Legion, Thornmail, Guardian Angel, Banshee's Veil

Caster Heavy Team:Mercury Treads, Banshee's Veil, Force of Nature, Aegis of the Legion, Warmog's Armor, Atma's Impaler

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A Note on Boots

If you don't know what boots to get for each team, this is the section to be looking at.

Note that in the above builds, I have Mercury Treads as the boots for all of the builds. This is assuming that every team has more than two characters with forms of CC. CC is anything that can stun, slow, snare, taunt, silence, or immobilize your character. If the enemy team composition is the same as the one I stated above, I will break it down like this: Amumu has two stuns, including a team-wide AoE stun, Kassadin has a silence and an AoE slow, Tryndamere has an AoE slow dependent on you facing away from him, Sivir has no CC, and Ryze has a snare. This amounts to a total of 6 CCs, not counting summoner spells or items. With a team like this, I would almost 100% of the time choose mercury treads to avoid the CC as much as possible.

With a team full of melee or ranged physical dps characters, however, I may choose to go with Ninja Tabi to avoid more of the physical damage by taking advantage of increased armor and dodge.

I almost never take Boots of Swiftness or Mobility because they are almost useless against everything.

The new boots, Ionian Boots of Lucidity, could be useful, but I don't really think getting them is particularly useful and, as such, I have not done much testing on them. If you would like to do some testing and see if they are good, leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

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Shen is a very strong jungler. He can jungle almost as quickly as most dedicated junglers like Warwick and Udyr, with very little health lost. The advantage to having a jungle tank is that it can free a spot on your team usually performed by a dedicated damage dealer. With their focuses more on harassing enemies and the ability to use summoner spells that can help (like using ignite instead of having to use smite), a damage dealer can benefit much more than a tank in the laning phase. The purpose of a jungler in general is to provide more exp for your team. In a standard ranked 5v5 game, you will have the following lane compositions: 1 in the top lane, 1 in the mid lane, 2 at the bottom lane, and 1 person in jungle. The jungler is responsible for co-ordinating ganks, getting laners buffs such as Blessing of the Ancient Golem and Blessing of the Lizard Elder (aka blue and red), and clearing the jungle for maximum exp.


Nothing in my mastery build changes except the 1 point in the offense tree, I simply shift it from Cripple to Plentiful Bounty, resulting in a 1/21/8 mastery build.


Again, nothing changes with my runes as they are strong jungle runes, allowing for a lot of extra HP at the start of the game so that you don't die to early jungle creep.

Summoner Spells

I prefer Fortify/Smite when I jungle. Smite is a must, as should be obvious since you are going to be in the jungle. Smite can help you be faster killing things in the jungle and can also help you secure both Baron Nashor and the Dragon from enemies trying to steal it. Fortify is just personal preference. If you so wish, you can use other spells like Flash or Ghost to help you gank.

Skilling Order

The jungling build is basically the same as the Twisted Treeline build. In solo que, you max Vorpal Blade and Feint, and in an arranged game you max Vorpal Blade and Shadow Dash. The builds look like this:

Solo Que:

Q > W > Q > E > Q > R > Q > W > Q > W > R > W > E > W > E > R > E > E


Q > W > Q > E > Q > R > Q > E > Q > E > R > E > W > E > W > R > W > W


The items I start with when I'm jungling change slightly, instead of starting with a standard item like Doran's Shield or Boots + 3HP pots, I typically start with Cloth Armor and 5HP pots, as a standard jungler does. You also have the option of starting with a Ruby Crystal, but I much prefer the standard jungle item build.

The Path

The standard jungling path is usually the best way to do this. If you are a premade team, you can have your teammates help you at Ancient Golem camp to help you get blue and jungle faster, but if you are not arranged I'd recommend starting at the Small Golem camp. After this you can go to either the Wraith camp or the Wolf camp, and then to whatever camps you are missing. At this point you should be around level 3 and able to buy boots and HP pots, possibly a ward. After shopping, you should leave the base hopefully with Cloth Armor, rank 1 boots, 3 HP pots, and a regular ward. You should be putting this ward at the Dragon Den so that you can see if the enemy team is attempting to do dragon. At this point, you can do Lizard Elder and start ganking.


When you gank, look for a lane that has one of the following:

-Enemy champions with low HP,
-Enemy champions pushing the lane really far (at your tower would be preferred),
-Lanes where friendly champions are having trouble with aggressive enemies.

If you fail a gank the first time, fear not. Usually when faced with a gank, an enemy will pop either one or both of his escape summoner spells or abilities that allow him to get away from you. This means that when you come back around and gank again, he will not be able to use those again to save himself until they come off cooldown.

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Team Work

Most people don't understand the job that a tank does. A tank is there to soak damage and to keep the focus off of his carries and support. He is not there to deal massive amounts of damage, he is there to help his team not die through well placed taunts and shields.

The most important thing that Shen can do is use his ultimate correctly. Time and time again I see Shens misusing their ultimate. I want this section to teach you how to properly time your ultimate and decide who to use it on.

Let's start with a list of questions:

-Is your team filled with squishies?

If yes,

-Who is getting focused the hardest?

Pick this person and wait until they get aggro from the enemy carry, then use your ult to stop the damage and deter the enemy from attacking him.

If no,

-Who is the squishiest damage dealer/support on your team?

Generally this person is who you want to target with your ultimate as they will usually be the first person to die.

There are exceptions to this rule, such as if they are trying to focus a tanky champion on your team (like Sion, Vladimir, or Garen). In this case, you may want to target this champion with your ult.

This skill is one of the hardest to master in the game, in my opinion, and takes LOTS of practice to be able to use it effectively. If you go into your first few games as Shen and you aren't the hero of the game that changed who won with one ult during one team fight, don't worry. It took me quite a while to figure out who to ult and when to ult them, over 500 games with Shen and counting.

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In closing, I hope you take full advantage of this guide and all of the information that I offered in it. Again, it WILL take you a long time to become a pro Shen, don't expect it to happen over just a few games. Just practice and get experience playing Shen.

As a final note, please take this guide seriously. I may not be a high-ELO ranked player like some of the people who write these guides but I do play Shen seriously and I have played him enough to understand how he works in the team.

Good luck and I hope to see you out there!

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Changed some spelling & formatting errors.
Changed Cheat Sheet item order.