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Shen Build Guide by Kian987

Support Shen AP Support

Support Shen AP Support

Updated on May 20, 2019
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Kian987 Build Guide By Kian987 24 6 50,570 Views 3 Comments
24 6 50,570 Views 3 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Kian987 Shen Build Guide By Kian987 Updated on May 20, 2019
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Runes: Let's convert CDR & Time to AP

Shield Bash
Second Wind

Gathering Storm

+8 ability haste
+6 Armor
+15-140 HP (lvls 1-18)


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


Threats & Synergies

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Extreme Threats
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Champion Build Guide

Shen AP Support

By Kian987
It's not a joke
I know what you are thinking «Shen AP? No way!» so let me start from the end showing numbers that can intrigue you.
  • AP 345 | AD 111
  • AR 191 | MR 108
  • HP 3675 | CDR 80%
  • R provides 1664 shield
  • Empowered Q deals 120 + 38.7% of target's maximum health
  • Total cost 350 Gold
These are the stats at level 18 in a 50 min game.


I more than a "main" Shen. I play just him and only in support role. I have a sad amount of 2.8M mastery points (2.2M on main rest on smurfs) and I always fly around Diamond ELO. Ironically I don't like Shen since rework. That's how I ended up trying hundreds of crazy builds for years.

I'm the kind of person that doesn't care about W/L rate or KDA. The reason why I keep playing him is that getting Diamond every season playing such an out of meta champion completely out role and with an AP build is priceless! Probably I'll surprise you with some parts of the guide but that's how I play.


My ELO and mastery points don't win games or give me the right to say «This is how you must play Shen». All I have is just a bit of experience. I still consider myself far from being a good Shen main and player in general. I'm very critical of myself and in every game I play I recognize me making mistakes so don't take this guide literally.

I'd like to underline that there's a reason why Shen supports are rare. I never managed to find one higher than Diamond. I'm not talking about "casual" players but real "mains". From my experience Shen support is fine up to Diamon then you'll start feeling that you reached its limit. If you want to go higer it's probably time to pick a real support.

Before we start don't get me wrong. Even though having 345 AP or more seems incredible you won't deal a lot of damage. This build is for players that focus on utility. If you are looking for quadra kills you're looking at the wrong build and probably also the wrong champion.
Pros and cons
  • The ultimate has more impact in the game and your chances to complete the channeling are higher
  • Enemies do not expect that you can R so early, so frequently and so hard
  • You can get Glory stacks just using R even if your target dies
  • Mejai will give you also 10% movement speed that is great on Shen
  • Better for split pushing
  • He's still the out of meta Shen and you are playing him out of role
  • You are a little bit more vulnerable to magic damage
  • More difficult laning phase
  • Limited item pool
  • Watch out for toxic team mates. They see Shen support AP. At first mistake the flame is around the corner
Before inventing this build I was coming from a very negative period due to the bad builds I was trying. I don't immediatelly drop a build after few loses. I draw the conclusion usually after 10 ranked games even if that means dropping to Platinum 2 with 25% W/L rate.

At the moment of writing I did 50 ranked with this build winning 32 games for a total of 64% W/L rate. During the first 10 games I was still perfecting the build so if we consider only games played exactly with the build described in this guide, I won 28 ranked in 40 games with 70% W/L rate and I got Diamond in Flex (incoming in SoloQ).

This is probably the best game I played. Click here or on the image to view the entire match history so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about.

Converting CDR/Time to AP
The backbone of Shen AP support are runes. There's no other way for a Shen to get such a big amount of AP in conventional ways. Let me show you how to.

+80 AP Transcendence grants 10% CDR at level 10 plus an adaptive bonus based on the CDR that exceed 40%. With this build we aim to get 80% meaning we get 80 AP just from this rune.

+120 AP Every 10 minutes this rune rewards us with certain amount of adaptive bonus. Shen is a late game champion so this is a perfect combination. In a game that last 50 minutes we get 120 AP!

The problem with both runes is that they provide adaptive bonuses meaning that Shen will get AD but there's a way to turn them into AP. We just need to buy a single AP item and more in particular the cheapest one available.

10 to 30 AP With 350 gold adaptive bonuses turns from AD to AP. For such a small price you can get 230 AP. As a reference Rabadon gives 120 AP for 3600 gold. Gold efficiency is immense.

20 to 125 AP We can evolve it to Mejai's Soulstealer in late game or even earlier in case there's no need to go full tank or when enemies prefer to focus on your team mates.

The great news is that not only this item is cheap and allows us to transform AD bonuses to AP but it also has a stack-mechanic that give you AP for every assist/kill you get. In late game I can easily get 6-12 stacks shielding an ally with R without even joining the fight!

Moreover Shen is not a squishy champion that loses Glory stacks easily. We're the tanky support that nobody focuses. Long story short at minute 50 (level 18) we'll get the following stats:
  • 210 to 230 AP with 360 Gold for
  • 220 to 345 AP with 1400 Gold for
Even though in early/mid game your AP will be notably lower it is still impactful. For example at level 1 your R provides a 280 shield points. With just 30 AP (Dark Seal, no stacks, 50% CDR past minute 10) your shield will be 31% stronger with 366 points (280 flat + 86 from AP/runes). It's quite impressive if you consider that having 30 AP means that you are playing horribly.
You're still Shen Support
Till now I talked about all the good sides of this build but don't think that it's easy. Hate it or like it you're still a Shen support very similar to the standard one full tank so don't go mental doing things you are not supposed to do.
No mistakes allowed
The fact that you need to get Dark Seal gives you a squishier start since we're postponing a bit the purchase of items that give armor, magic resist, HP and tier 2 boots. Your power spike comes in the long run exactly like you would expect from Shen. I generally follow these rules when I go base on first back.
  • In case I manage to get first blood I buy Ruby Crystal
  • If I have 350 gold I buy Dark Seal
  • If I have 450 gold I buy Targon's Brace Targon's Brace postponing the purchase of Dark Seal later on
Ignore Glory stacks!
Anything is more important than your stacks. As soon as you'll start getting them don't throw the game refusing to play as a support in order to preserve them. You are not Katarina! Please, don't mistake your role.

You are the support and you are expected to make sacrifices and die to keep your allies alive. Don't trade the death of your ADC to preserve Glory stacks or I'll punch you in the face :)
Game starts at 00:00
I'm talking about the part of the game that starts at 00:00 and ends at 01:30 with the spawn of blue/red buffs. Even though it's pretty obvious, game starts at 00:00 and as a Shen you are not allowed to chill out at spawn since with your presence your team has a great kill potential in invades.

I always invade since season 4 and I've always been constantly successful. On average in 10 ranked games I'd say that 5 times is worth, 4 draw and 1 fail. Quite surprisingly your level 1 is pretty strong due to the following reasons.

You can taunt an entire team and/or lasthit enemies that are escaping with a simple flash + E. If you spot an enemy that seems to be distracted don't go in a hurry. Surpass him and taunt in the opposite direction. This will make him walk for few instants right into your team.

It grants you a pretty decent shield and a lot of movement speed that can help even more to escape, secure kills or save allies. In fact don't forget that you can save an ally from lasthit or ignite by simply flashing right on him. If Guardian is up the shield pops up.

Don't be afraid to use it if even if that means stealing a kill. Of course don't do that on purpose but if you have even a tiny doubt that enemy can survive use everything to secure the kill. "Better safe than sorry" must be your mantra. With 400 gold you can be way more aggressive in lane and help your ADC to get subsequent kills.

Of course having early advantage doesn't win games but why should you discard this opportunity? Staying AFK in base gives you nothing so please move your *** when game starts and ping/spam your allies to follow you!


This is the easiest and most obvious form of taunt that every Shen player should be capable to perform. Taunt the first target. As soon as you hit him flash right on the other.

Side by side

This is a little more difficult but doable with a bit of practice. As a Shen support you must learn how to land it consistently since in botlane you'll face two enemies and this taunt can turn a single kill into a double. As a general rule your first target should be enemy support (less dangerous) so that you complete the taunt on the ADC that requires all your "love".


It's similar to the previous one but harder to land since targets are not aligned. This is particularly useful when the farthest target is with low HP under his turret while the other is trying to reach that. By using this form of taunt you can finish the one with low HP eventually killing the other one without even taking turret aggro.


This is my favourite one even though this scenario occurrs a bit rarely. When it happens and you manage to successfully hit all enemies your team can go in and take them all. I won many games in late game just performing this kind of taunt. Usually you'll find youself performing it in open spaces or around corners when enemies are trying to disengage.

Let me see...

Say that you suspect that enemies are taking Fire drake but you have no wards, there are no plants to go in or get vision, and they are feed and capable to oneshot you. Here's how I get vision. Yes, I know that the idea of wasting flash just to peek Drake sounds terrible but in some situation (eg. they are getting 3rd Fire drake) it could be worth.

Oops: abort the mission

Many people seem to forget that they can E + flash also defensively. I see a lot of Shens going in realizing that it was a bad idea. Instead of immediatelly using flash to go back they complete the animation of E and use flash later on when it's already too late because of the many powerful gapclosers that exist in the game.
Play mind games
I tend to travel a lot in the river. I even push myself in front of drake and enemy blue to place wards and I don't dislike killing scuttle crab. That's why I'm usually 1 or 2 levels below my ADC. But there's something more. I play sort of mind games. I can't demonstrate it but I think that it's working. Everytime there's no room for trades (too pushed, have cool downs, enemy playing safe etc.) I leave lane to just stand few seconds inside river brush when I know that it's not warded. Let me explain.

I ask myself a question. What's the point of staying in lane when I know that there's nothing to do? What could I do to take even a small advantage? Simple. I hide myself in tri-brush and river-brush so that enemy bot lane can start questioning things like «Where the hell is Shen?», «Are they making drake?», «Is him roaming mid?». They probably even spam a few pings so that their they allies are distracted. Enemy support or jungler could also consider making a journey to drake pit to make sure that everything is okay. Do you see where I'm going?

With such a small move I made my enemies doubtful. I made them waste a fraction of time and/or wards. Maybe I even caused a bit of distraction in other lanes. I love to do that non-stop also to cover the ganks of my jungler. This helps me also to leave enemy bot with no idea if, when and where I placed my wards. And you can bet your *** that when I want to ward something I make sure that they're not seeing it!

Last but not least I even play the «I'm stupid» card. For example if I have no vision of enemy brush and I suspect that there could be the jungler I start walking towards it prepared to E in the opposite direction as soon as I see something dangerous. I do it several times so that enemy bot start speading the news that the brush is warded since I look so confident.
The art of wasting time
You can't imagine the time enemies waste because of me. I'm the master of the art of annoying them! I put myself into calculated risks situations. I see my HP bar not like something that must me constantly at 100% but as a resource to use. For example if enemy ADC is recalling under his turret I intentionally walk inside its range to take 1 or 2 hits. All ADCs have a frenzy for taking kills therefore most of the times they interrupt the recall just to hit me because «Hey, this Shen must be stupid or DC!» but then I walk away. I repeat the same process over and over again until my HP bar no longer allows it.

With tricks like this I make them waste precious time. Maybe enemy ADC got a kill and he wants to buy an item to take the lead but by doing this I can make him waste so much time that my ADC is back again and he can no longer go base.

I do the same also to interrupt enemy tanks with full HP. I'm a tank too therefore engaging me is totally useless and on the other hand I can't 1v1 them since I'm a poor Shen support. What I do is very mean. Say that I met enemy top between Tier 1 turrets. He pushes, sees me and goes back a bit to go B. I persuade him to think that I want to keep farming but at the very last moment I go to visit him. He's forced to interrupt the recall and goes back (again) to retry a recall and the same story repeats until he basically reaches his base walking backwards.

If you think that interrupting recalls is pretty obvious, think twice. As I said earlier I'm brining this activity to another level literally trading parts of my HP for time. I do it always (early, mid, late game), everywhere and against anyone when I'm sure that I can handle it.
Google Maps of League of Legends
For the entire duration of the game all you need to do is focusing 60% of your brain on the mini-map. The rest of the monitor is superfluous. You are Shen and you must have the most epic map awareness of all players connected. A Shen top can be excused since he needs to lasthit CS, watch for ganks and trades but you are a Shen support! You are the player with the biggest free time in the game so focus on that map! As soon as you see something ping it!

Like I said earlier I don't consider myself the best Shen in the world but what the heck I'm the Google Maps of League of Legends! I ping top, mid, jungler, use of plants, wards placed everywhere on the map, indirect objects that can give informations about enemies' location (eg. Skarner crystals) and I even SS on behalf of my allies! Enough? Nope!

I let them know when my R is up every 15 seconds. If there's some ally that is starting a fight I spam it more frequently. I also ping for enemies that used R, F, D, drake spawns, baron, elder, blues, reds, Kindred objectives... everything! When one of my ally is trying to escape I ping him the path to follow in order to reach me or one of my allies.

All these actions are crucial and can make you win games. Just think about it. Pinging your team that enemy jungler is in bot lane allows your top and mid lane to play more aggressive and push safely for 15-30 seconds and in the same time you can invite your jungler to invade or take elder. People always talk about champion that can "Carry games" ignoring the fact that you can carry games by simply knowing the position of all players and objects on the map.
Use wards like if you're signing in blood
Having wards doesn't necessarily mean you have to use them. Given that as a Shen you must be the Google Maps of the game (map awareness), the use of wards must be very limited. Placing a ward is easy and requires one click and you don't win ranked games by making easy things that anyone can do. You may ask where's the skill in placing wards? Hold my beer.

If you want to be good at placing wards start using them the minimum possible. It's like playing Blitzcrank. You don't spam grab as soon as you can. You must grab at the right time. Same goes for placing wards. Let me give you an example.

I know that enemy jungler was top and that he completed his route in the jungle. I know for sure that he can't fly in bot lane to gank me so what's the point of placing a ward? Should I ward just because River looks so dark? Few minutes later I see scuttle crab in top lane taken by enemies. Nice, one more minute to play aggressive without wasting wards! Then I see my top laner pushed in front of enemy turret. Guess what? I bet that enemy jungler will try to gank top so I ping top to be careful and I can keep my ward in the inventory for another minute.

Long story short the only time I use ward is when I legit don't know where the hell is the jungler but there's a but. Before placing the ward I personally visit brushes every to have vision. Basically I use myself as a ward when I know that I can handle a bad encounter. If I can't do that because we're trading enemy bot then I place the ward.
Wasting your flash is fine
Don't be afraid to E + Flash an enemy even when he's close to you and in the range of you E for two reasons: first surprise factor, secondly it's and engage with 100% success chance. If I have flash I always use it. From time to time when enemies see me doing it they say «LoL?» and I always provide the same answer «Spells are ment to be used. You are dead. Worth». Don't think too much about preserving your flash. You don't win games by keeping your flash up while enemies are killing your nexus. It's a ranked. Use everything you need to win every single episode! You can live with flash down but you can't accept enemies surviving.
You are disposable
Sometimes as a support your role will be to taunt the entire enemy team even if you are 100% sure that you will die instantly. It's always worth if you allies thanks to that move can take a shut down, few kills or an ACE. Especially in late game remember that your death is worth if you can trade it for the death of any other role (Support < Anyone). Shen is all about sacrifice and utility so suffer well and be useful.
A new way to split push
As you probably already know the standard Shen support that splits requires centuries to get something from it. The AP Shen is even slower since you don't buy Sun Fire Cape or Titanic Hydra but inherently you'll split better.

Even if you are so slow, enemy team can't ignore you and will be forced to send one guy to stop you. This leaves your allies in a 4 vs 4 situation but in reality it's a 4/5 vs 5 situation. In fact, thanks to the enormous amount of AP, the shield of your R is massive. You can be almost completely sure that you'll join the fight 5 vs 4!

It's not like the standard Shen whose shields are so tiny that most of the times your target instantly dies to a Veigar pressing R. And even if your target dies it could be still worth since enemies had to waste so many spells and time to remove your shield.

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