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Shen Build Guide by Jnewbringspain

Top Save Your Teamates! Top Lane Shen

Top Save Your Teamates! Top Lane Shen

Updated on August 8, 2019
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Jnewbringspain Build Guide By Jnewbringspain 9,252 Views 0 Comments
9,252 Views 0 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Jnewbringspain Shen Build Guide By Jnewbringspain Updated on August 8, 2019
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Grasp of the Undying
Shield Bash

Cheap Shot
Ultimate Hunter

+8 ability haste
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport


Threats & Synergies

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Champion Build Guide

Save Your Teamates! Top Lane Shen

By Jnewbringspain

About Me

Hello I'm JnewBringsPain. I am a Platinum top lane main and Shen is one of my favorite all time picks. I enjoy playing Shen because he is unorthodox and essentially is a top lane partial support. Others have tried, ( Pantheon, Twisted Fate, Kled) but no other champion can influence a lane quite like Shen. While all the other champions can help influence another lane, only Shen can do so instantly without a range limit.

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+Energy user.
+Taunt and slow in ability kit.
+Has good defensive tools to survive.
+ Shadow Dash works good as an escape and passes terrain.
+Shield from passive Ki Barrier
+Decent against other tanks because Twilight Assault does % HP.
+ Stand United can carry another lane from where ever you are.
+Strong against basic attack champions.
-Lacks damage.
-Really weak in lane, probably loses more matchups than he wins.
- Stand United has a massive cooldown.
-Not a great pick in low elo.
-Requires great awareness to use Stand United correctly.
-God awful wave clear.
- Stand United does nothing to help in lane.






Ki Barrier is a decent passive. I'll start by explaining the tether. You will see a spirit blade "attached" to Shen. It will not move unless you move a great distance (Think roughly the length of one turret to another turret before it moves). Even then, it keeps its distance from you.

The only way to move it yourself is with your Q skill, Twilight Assault. When you activate Q, it will rush to your location. Once it reaches you, a shield is granted if your passive is up. The shield value is a flat amount that scales with champion level and % max HP.

The important part of this passive is the cooldown. 10 seconds if it does not collide with an enemy, but cooldown reduces 4-7 seconds (depending on level) if it does hit an enemy. You will want to watch for when your passive is up FREQUENTLY, otherwise you aren't utilizing it properly.

Twilight Assault is maxed first every time. It pulls your spirit blade to you and grants you three enhanced basic attacks. The attacks do max HP percentage magic damage. This is very helpful because you will be doing hybrid damage, making it a little more difficult to build defense against you. Keep in mind, the attacks are further enhanced if you pull the spirit blade through an enemy.

Twilight Assault enhancement without pulling through enemy
- 3 enhanced basic attacks including double damage to minions
- +75 range
- Shield granted if Ki Barrier is up

Twilight Assault enhancement with successful pull through enemy
- 3 enhanced basic attacks, double damage to minions, further enhanced damage
- +75 range
- Shield granted if Ki Barrier is up AND Ki Barrier cooldown reduced
- Slows enemy champion scaling up with Twilight Assault level
- 50% attack speed buff for the three attacks

As you can see, you have far more going for you if you manage to pull through the enemy. Without doing this properly and managing your Ki Barrier cooldowns, you will always lose extended trades.

Spirit's Refuge is maxed last. It's a good unique skill, but the cooldown is too long to max earlier than your other skills. It will create a defensive circle and block incoming basic attacks for 1.75 seconds, including basic attacks against your allies.

Shadow Dash is maxed second and is your main source of crowd control. Also, once your take this skill, you will passively recover energy when you hit an enemy with Twilight Assault or Shadow Dash.

The skill itself is simple, yet surprisingly difficult to land at times. Skillshot that taunts all enemy champions you collide with. You can taunt jungle monsters as well, but not minions. The damage is weak, and the cooldown is long, but it is great for engaging (especially right after you teleport from Stand United) and also great for peeling. You max it second because it does have scaling cooldown reduction per level and damage, albeit minimal damage increase.

Stand United is an immensely unique skill that will instantly grant a huge 5 second shield to an ally anywhere on the map, and channel a 3 second teleport to their location. At the end of the channel, your spirit blade will also be teleported to the location. There are two important details with the shield.

1. It scales REALLY hard with ability power.

2. It shields for more damage the lower your ally's health is. Max shield reached when ally is under 40% health.

This means if you want to save an ally, the best way is actually to wait for their health bar to drop below 40%.

However, Stand United can also be used as an enhanced gank. You can easily wipe the enemy bottom lane by using it on your jungler as he comes in to gank. The enemy bot lane won't have much of a shot in a sudden 2v4.

There's a few problems presented with Stand United though.

- You most likely are at a disadvantage at level 6 versus your enemy laner, as your ult does absolutely nothing to help yourself. Because of this, Shen loses a significant amount of matchups.

- You leave your lane wide open by teleporting. This is why Teleport is an absolute must when playing Shen.

- It can be interrupted by hard crowd control skills such as stun, charm, root, silence, etc. The shield remains, but the teleport is cancelled.

- The skill is incredibly difficult to master. You need awareness on fights happening all over the map, you need great timing to maximize the shield, and you also need to make sure you are in a safe enough location to not get interrupted.

Ability Sequence

When engaging, you first want to make sure your Ki Barrier is up. If you are laning against a basic attacking champion like Jax, Irelia, Tryndamere, etc, you'll also want to make sure Spirit's Refuge is up.

Start with Shadow Dash, and follow up with Twilight Assault. Make sure you are behind your enemy so the spirit blade will pull through them, further enhancing your Twilight Assault. Don't activate your Spirit's Refuge instantly, wait for your taunt to end first. You're Ki Barrier will soak up some damage first and it's more efficient this way.

Do your three Twilight Assault attacks and back off afterward if needed. Pay attention to your Ki Barrier cooldown right after you are done attacking. If you end up in an extended trade, make sure you are always positioned to land your Twilight Assault. You'll get more damage and your Ki Barrier will be up often.

It is difficult to win extended trades because of Spirit's Refuge & Shadow Dash cooldown. You'll want to do a lot of quick trading before backing off.

I take Grasp of the Undying over Aftershock most times. However, if you are laning against a ranged champion, take Aftershock instead as you won't be able to proc Grasp of the Undying very often.

I take Shield Bash over Demolish. Shen is really bad at pushing minion waves and I find myself not making use of Demolish very often when I take it. Shield Bash goes great with your passive for a little extra damage.

I prefer Conditioning over Bone Plating here. Bone Plating is nice, but the cooldown is pretty long. I personally like scaling defensive stats a little more, but both are viable.

I take Revitalize over Overgrowth. Both are also viable here, but Revitalize just goes perfect with Stand United. Increased effectiveness on allies under 40% health just like your ultimate.

Cheap Shot goes well with Shadow Dash for a little more burst damage when you land it. This is easily the best choice of the three.

Ultimate Hunter is an absolute must. Stand United base cooldown is 200/180/160 so you need to get those numbers down a little.

Time to help scale some late game cooldown for your ultimate.

Diamond for a little damage in lane (Or more AP for bigger ult shield)

Circle or Shield depending on lane matchup or enemy team comp.

Starting Items

Doran's Shield
Always start with this item. The health and passives give you exactly what you need.

Warding Totem
Nothing fancy here. Take this over the other trinkets unless you are laning against Teemo. In that case, grab an Oracle Lens.

First Back

Bami's Cinder
This is probably the most common first back item. It'll help with your garbage waveclear and make you a little beefier.

Spectre's Cowl
Take this one if you are laning against an AP harasser and build into Spirit Visage or in rare cases, build into Adaptive Helm.

Take this one if you aren't feeling particularly threatened by your opponent. It'll give you better waveclear along with some damage. I suggest caution here though. Titanic Hydra is very expensive, so I wouldn't go this route unless you are ahead and can actually afford it.


Mercury's Treads
Try to pick this up in most games. The tenacity and magic resist is pretty helpful.

Ninja Tabi
Pick this up if you are against an AD heavy team comp.

Core Items

Sunfire Cape
Probably the best and most common item for Shen. Greatly helps with his weak waveclear, helps with your all-in damage, and makes you seriously tanky.

Banshee's Veil
I really like this item on Shen. Gives your Stand United a HUGE shield, cooldown, and a lot of magic resist. Pick this up if laning against an AP champ or AP heavy team comp.

Titanic Hydra
This item feels great to complete. However, it's a huge investment for Shen so only grab it if you are ahead. Greatly boosts waveclear and damage, while providing more HP.

Likely To Build Next

Warmog's Armor
Good item to pick up if you want to become truly tanky. Also the cooldown is always a good option so your Stand United is ready more often. Goes well with Locket of the Iron Solari too since Locket gives a shield scaling with max HP.

Spirit Visage
Grab this if you need to survive more against AP. Works good if you decide to build some lifesteal items such as Blade of the Ruined King or Wit's End.

For AD heavy basic attacking teams. You should always consider this item whenever laning against someone like Tryndamere, Jax, etc.

Locket of the Iron Solari
Pick this up if you want to go full on support top Shen. Stacking HP with this item works great as the shield scales off your max HP.

Situational Items

Blade of the Ruined King
This is a good choice when laning against a tank or if you need some lifesteal. Despite being a tank, this item has surprisingly good synergy with Shen. The item's active also helps your stick to enemies.

Frozen Mallet
Difficult to build, but the payoff can be big in the right circumstance. Consider getting this if you can't seem to stay on your targets. There's no redundant stats, just a big gold invenstment.

Wit's End
Same as Blade of the Ruined King, except you take this if going against AP. Good against close range AP users such as Sylas, Rumble, Diana.

Adaptive Helm
You basically only take this against Teemo or Singed. Greatly reduces magic DoT.

Maw of Malmortius
Another magic resist option. I don't take this one often, but it can be useful against really heavy AP burst like Veigar or Karthus.

Zyhona's Hourglass
Similar to Banshee's Veil, this item provided both AP and resistance. Surprisingly good on Shen and will greatly boost your Stand United shielding. Pick this up if you are laning against AD and also want huge ult shields.

Last hitting itself with Shen is easy. Twilight Assault does good damage to minions to finish them off and is both low cost and low cooldown.

The difficulty comes with Shen's dreadful lack of waveclear. If your enemy pushes lane hard with ease, you'll be tanking a lot of minion damage or you'll have trouble farming every minion under your turret.

For this reason, you want Sunfire Aegis or Titanic Hydra to help cover this weakness. Without these items, you will be hacking away at a wave for a long time before you get anywhere.

This is also the reason I do not take the Demolish rune. It's just too difficult to push your lane into the enemy turret.

Early game is not awful for Shen. Focus on stacking your Grasp of the Undying early if you are laning against another melee champion. Just attack every once in a while when they go to farm. A little trade is okay since it will also heal you.

Look to go all-in when you have Ki Barrier, and Spirit's Refuge up. Certain matchups just don't go in your favor though so be careful. Don't ever try to all-in a Fiora or a Renekton as you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed even if you've done everything right.

You are never going to burst an enemy down comepletely. Shen lacks the damage to do so. You need to execute small trades before backing off. Shadow Dash in, do your 3 attacks, and run away usually. Ki Barrier and Spirit's Refuge keep you from taking much damage in the trade, but without them you will find yourself losing these trades. This is why Shen requires so much attention to his cooldowns.

Once you hit level 6, you are instantly at a disadvantage against your lane opponent. Chances are they will have an ultimate that damages you, but Stand United only helps your teammates. Hopefully by now you have a bit of a lead to make up for it.

Once you have Stand United, it's time to pay close attention to the map and your teammates health bars. When you see a fight start to break out, back far away from your lane opponent and ult your teammate. You back away so you don't get interrupted while channeling it.

You should almost never use Stand United on a support. You want your carries to get fed instead. Look to use it on all-in champions like Master Yi, Vayne, Lucian, etc. Watch your channel bar as you are about to teleport. Assuming your teammate isn't stupid, he/she will be running at the enemy team. The second you come out of teleport you'll want to land Shadow Dash.

As stated in Pros & Cons, Shen doesn't do as good in lower elo. This is primarily because low elo teammates often run away after you use Stand United on them. If you ult someone who doesn't know what to do, don't ult them again and try with another teammate next time. There's nothing more frustrating than setting up a nice ult just to have your teammate run away.

Generally speaking you won't be "grouped" with your team all that often. Once Shen gets some waveclear items, he becomes such a great split pusher since Stand United can get you into any fight within seconds.

In teamfights you'll either want to peel with Shadow Dash for your primary damage dealers, or Shadow Dash a high priority enemy target. Focus on landing a crucial Spirit's Refuge for your team. It blocks any basic attacks within the circle, including your teammates, so use it where it will do the most.

Another use for Stand United is to pull off a double gank. Coordination with your jungler is vital here. Ult your jungler early, just a second or two before he goes in to gank. Suddenly they have to deal with two incoming champions instead of just one.

Stand United can be used as a last-ditch effort in the middle of a teamfight if you just want to generate a big shield for your teammate before you die. I recommend against this most times as you are completely wasting the teleport portion of the skill by doing so, but every once in a while it makes sense to do this.

Shen is pretty binary when it comes to cool tricks, but there are a few. Most involve Shadow Dash.

First, at the start of the game, always walk a little bit past the halfway mark of your lane and use your Twilight Assault. This will allow you to possibly pull it through your enemy at level one in case you see an opportunity to attack.

Next, always look to Shadow Dash under your turret. It's a taunt, so the second your enemy hits you, your turret will lock on to them.

Also will Shadow Dash will travel through terrain so it's a great tool to escape.

Flash can be used with Shadow Dash. Open with Shadow Dash and near the end of the animation, you can flash to an enemy and it will hit them. Shadow Dash hitbox is literally Shen himself, so the skillshot travels with you. Google "Shen shadow dash flash" and you'll have some videos pop up showing this trick.

Stand United can be used by clicking your teammates' icon instead of the actual champion. This is helpful if you see your teammate rapidly losing health and dont have time to go look at the fight. Unfortunately, Nocturne still counters this with his ult. I have tested and you cannot use it on an ally even if you click the icon during Nocturne ult.

A good tip is to just watch your positioning nonstop when going in on an enemy. Always position yourself so you can pull Twilight Assault right through an enemy.

Shen in an unorthodox tank champion with really unique tools to sway your allies' lane. He takes a lot of practice to master and an unusual amount of map awareness, but with practice it's worth it.

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