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Shen Build Guide by Battok

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Battok

Shen Is Everywhere (Main Tank Build)

Battok Last updated on November 5, 2011
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Top Lane
Ranked #22 in
Top Lane
Win 49%
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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: 0

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

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

Utility: 9

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Shen is my main, and as such I have played him many times and tried out several builds. This build is the one that has given me maximum usefulness to my team.

There are a few things to keep in mind while playing Shen:

  • you are not invincible (don't over extend yourself)
  • you are not a great farmer (the majority of a good Shen's money will come from assists)
  • = health regen (for you and your lane partner)
  • is your strongest ability

OK, now the key to playing a good tank is to focus on keeping your carries alive. This is true for all tanks.. if you are not doing this, then you are failing. I will explain this more in the team work section below.

This build focuses completely on survivability and being a part of as many fights as possible. If you play this build right, you will be considered MVP and the enemy team will hate you.

Remember to vote! :D

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Map Awareness

Now, The most important skill Shen has is not a button you click. What really makes a great Shen is map awareness. You need to keep one of your eyes on the mini-map ALL OF THE TIME. There are a few opportunities every game to really shut the enemy team down with your ult. You need to be ready when that happens. Also save people, denying a kill is just as good as killing (Don't argue), and with tele you can save someone and get right back to lane in seconds if you need to.

OK, so we all agree that map awareness is important, but you might ask: how do I keep my eyes on everyone on my team while still having lane presence?

This is really not as hard as it seems if you watch for the signs of trouble.
Out of the corner of your eye you should be able to see motion in the mini-map. When two player icons from opposing teams get close to each other, quickly click on that location of your mini-map and check the situation. Don't just watch them... glance at them then hit the space bar to return the camera to your location. If you are still concerned about the situation and it requires more attention, return to your turret and tell the people that you are watching that you are watching them. This will give them the confidence to take down that enemy champ.

Another important sign that you can tell from the mini-map is a green champ icon passing an enemy turret. Chances are that this teammate is in trouble or going to be soon. Again, quickly click their location and check the situation and use the space bar to return the camera to you.

Teammates in enemy jungle.. nuff said.

Pings are always something you should check. People ping for numerous reasons (i.e ganks, they are in trouble, things to be aware of, turrets need covered) all are things you can help with.

If you are dead or waiting at turret or in bushes. Take that time to look around also. Just take stock of the current situation...

Lastly, be cautious of any abnormality (i.e. MIA's, Junglers, so on and so on).

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Runes & Masteries

For runes, I stack full survivability with flat health Marks and Quints, dodge seals and magic resist glyphs.
I get flat health instead of health/level because Shen is one of those champs that thrives in late game... so I counter his early game weakness with the extra health.

If you disagree with the above statement.. face a Malph or Morde 1v1 before level 10...

For masteries, we focus on full survivability by going 0/21/9 and getting dodge, armor, health, regen and the improved versions of your summoner abilities.

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Final build:

The Game Begins

Begin the game with either a or , I get Doran's for the extra armor and regen.. but if you are really wanting to rush your build, then Ruby Crystal is fine.
Stay in lane (if possible) until you can buy and . As a note, many players don't like AotL because the stats it provides are kind of low on each. However, I find that this item combined with Doran's Shield and my runes carry me through early to mid game perfectly.
Next grab a , remember that Shen is not a very good farmer and that health is vital to any tanking build. Now go back out and save some people.

Mid Game

When you are ready to return to base again, upgrade your boots to , buy a and a .
As soon as possible upgrade them to and , I usually get Sunfire first to help with farming.. but get what you need based on which enemies are doing the most damage.

Late Game

Lastly upgrade your HoG into (don't forget about the active in team fights).
If the game continues, get what you really need. Some items I would recommend are , , and depending on what you are up against.

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Situational Items

Alright, you are a tank and as such you need to be ready to counter whatever the enemy team is dishing out, be it CC, high DPS, AP nuke or whatever. One of the more important things you can do to be a good tank is, be flexible in your build. One of the things that makes League such a fun game is its diversity. No two champs are exactly the same and are best countered differently.

Some suggestions I can make for situational deviations from the main build are:

your Ninja Tabi are great for countering auto-attack champs like WW and Yi. However, if you find yourself facing an AP heavy team, take advantage of for the magic resist.

If your team is getting torn up by brawlers, then rush . With your taunt this item can make brawlers think twice about charging in to your squishy friend. By rush I really only mean after getting giants belt in the build (you still need health).

If your team is really heavy on AP and you are not having any trouble surviving, consider getting . This item will improve the power of your shields, vorpal blade and provide some nice magic pen for your team.

Another Item to consider when you are being forced to stay out of base for long periods is . getting this item after FoN will provide you with some pretty impressive health regen. Plus it provides magic resist, health and a little bit of cdr. All around good item but not the most important for Shen. If you just need a little bit of MR and want the regen, then go for this. otherwise you will most likely want the slot for something else. Keep in mind that if the enemy team is mostly AP, it is ok for you to sell your heart of gold for this item. it gives around the same health and you don't need omen for AP teams.

If you are facing high amounts of CC, it is Ok to switch FoN with . The spell shield will make a big difference. However, Make sure that you get all of the magic res you need! The MR on Banshee's is low compared to FoN so you may need to buy another Negatron Cloak or something to make up for it.

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Items to Avoid

The following are the most deceiving items for Shen, because they look good in theory but are in fact most likely not.

Chances are by the time you get this item, the game could have used more Shen presence. The cost is just to high. and even after you get it... you are not a good farmer! remember the first section of the guide? it will take you a really long time to finish building up its passive.
Break-down: Time + Cost = Bad for Shen

Ok, many of you are saying: "Why the hell would I ever get that on Shen?".. you would be surprised how many people do.. usually the same people who get Warmog's.
But i will explain it. The price is high for the amount of health you get, Shen's attack speed is low and the slow is something that your carries can afford to spend money on (after all you have been feeding them kills right?)

Break-down: Cost + unnecessary/only mildly helpful stats = Bad for Shen.

This one I don't have a huge issue with.. i just don't like to use snowball items. League is a pretty undependable game. It is very possible that you will get shut down right after finishing this item and never get any stacks... I don't like to gamble. But if you have no doubt you are going to dominate the game.. then sure get this item. Something else I want you to consider though is, sometimes dieing is your job. If you are focusing on keeping stacks, then you might not make the best situational decision.
Break-down: Risky + Pretty cheap + Possible lapses in judgement = I don't recommend it, but I wouldn't blame you.

Many builds for Shen include this item, and if you are getting NUKED big-time at endgame, then I guess get this item. However, you need to understand something before you do. As a DPS/nuke you are always looking for the easiest kill or most likely to be killed during team fights. If you are engaging and keeping your squishy friends safe like you should then eventually this will be you. This means that you have the ability to take all fire for a short time (while escaping through your team). If you buy this item you will never be focused unless everyone else is dead. Because of this you will have limited usefulness as a tank. nuff said...
Break-down: makes you an undesirable target = main tanks shouldn't buy!

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Team Work

Your Role

Okie dokie, Here is the deal guys. Shen is a pure tank (one of the best tanks), as such, his damage is pretty low while KI Strike is down. I am stating this to be very clear in the fact that Shen is not a DPS (at least with this build).
That being said, you are one of the most valuable assets your team has. Simply by being in the area, you can make impossible situations into quick victories. I have many times ran into a 3v1 and managed to save my teammate while at least one enemy is taken down, sometimes even killing all three.
Shen's ability to protect allies is extremely high, this means that if you are in the battle, your allies are likely to kill your enemies. So the most important thing for you to do is be involved in as many fights as possible. This is why I take Teleport and Ghost summoner abilities. By using Tele to get to fights, you gain two advantages: 1. You have made it to battle very quickly. 2. You still have your ult during the battle if needed.
A lot of games it seems that I end up somewhat alternating Tele and ult to get to team fights. But my assist count is almost always over 20 and often over 30.

The Team Fight

You will most likely engage. Unless you have an opportunity to grab someone that is out of position or your teams damage is really really high, I would recommend trying to engage initially without using Shadow Dash. I know, I know, This is counter to everything you want and feel you should do.. Trust me though, if you save your taunt for after people start attacking, you will find that you have much better control over the battle. Look for opportunities to Shadow Dash through more than one enemy at a time or try to pull the brawlers into your team (ranged players won't follow you).
Don't use Stand United while Shadow dash is not on cool down unless you really have to, taunt is much more likely to save your squishy friend than ult is.
During most team fights there are a couple ults that just have to be stopped (kat, nunu, etc...) something to keep in mind is that your taunt will in fact stop these ults as soon as you hit. This is a very good use of shadow dash.
Lastly, do not be afraid to stand in front of that missile attack if it would otherwise hit your squishy friend. You are much less harass-able than he is and you likely have a way to quickly get back to battle off cool down if needed.

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Other Tactics to Employ

Saving an ally that is being chased by more than one attacker

If Stand United and Tele are both on cool down and you are to far away to reach them then.. gl hf.. but otherwise get into a position in which you can taunt the enemies (all of them if possible) another direction and use your ghost to escape. Note* Shadow Dashing through walls can make for a quick and easy escape from multiple attackers. The important thing here is "Taunt AWAY from your squishy friend" let them escape, as you are more likely to make it home alive without help then they are and you most likely don't have a massive killing spree that can feed your enemies even further. Also if possible, flee in the direction of a neutral location were your team can regroup. Be sure to ping this location as you're heading there. This can easily lead to a victorious team fight, as your team now has the element of surprise.

Prevent the double kill

You will at times be put in the situation that you are going to most likely die and your squishy friend will die within short proximity to you.. in this situation there is really only one course of action. PREVENT THE DOUBLE KILL by taunting the attackers away from the squishy and lead them as far away as possible before you die. Don't think of this as feeding, think of it as preventing a death. If the situation really was correct for this sort of action, you will be thanked for it.

Trap your foe

Squishy champs make very good bait, and they do massive output if they are not having to run away. So watch for the opportunity to turn an enemy gank around on them. let them chase that lil Teemo back and get him to half, now they are committed to the kill. Use your ult to save him and immediately taunt the enemy away. Chances are the enemy will be so committed to his gank at this point that he will run back at teemo while he dies.

Defending the turret

When you are put in the situation of being stuck at a turret defending, your best option is to let the enemy think they can do a little damage to the turret and taunt them immediately after the first strike, your enemy will hit you with the second strike and begin taking turret fire, and have to back off. If you have allies around, this can easily lead to a team kill.

Saving an ally while solo laning

As soon as you turn level 6, keep an eye on your allies because everyone is getting itchy to use their new found ulti powers. Enemies and allies alike will over extend at this point. So your squishy friend has over extended, but your turret would be alone if you were to leave.. whats a Shen to do? Oh Right! we took teleport as one of our summoner abilities. Simply Ult to your squishy friend for the save, taunt for the kill (if the enemy is low). When everyone is safe, teleport back to lane.

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Summoner Spells

Good Options

Is a great summoner ability for anyone, but exceptional for tanks because it allows you to get around a team fight more quickly and focus your cc where it is needed. Also it allows a good Shen to catch enemies out of position and escape from multiple attackers. With Feint + Shadow Dash + Ghost, the should be very little that can keep you down. However, don't think that this spell is a get out of jail free card. Play smart and use it tactically.

Teleport allows for Shen to become incredibly mobile and when combined with ghost, the map is your playground. This combo is the reason I named this build "Shen is everywhere". Imagine the scenario from an enemy perspective, when there are two fights going on within Summoners rift and Shen is there to see both of them through (by using teleport and ult) then the jerk gets back to lane before minions reach tower by popping ghost. You would be pretty upset I think.
also Shen is a good split push with ki-strike.

Another good summoner ability for anyone and its defensive utility makes it a good support/tank ability. I don't personally use it with Shen very often because your damage dealers will usually provide it in team fights. If you do take this spell, use it to shut down the enemy carry dps in team fights. This will allow you to use your shadow dash for others.

This one is pretty obvious. Great for protecting turrets and stopping a push.. Also, Shen has to leave lane frequently so if your not taking Teleport or it's on CD, this can save your lane while you are working to return.

Great for the obvious reasons... Prevent ganks, check dragon/baron/buffs, look in the bushes, etc..

Just OK Options

Flash is another ability that can be good on anyone.. but for Shen I find its usefulness limited and the few times I tried it on him, I found myself wishing I had other abilities. When you are going to get blown up in fights or ganks, take flash.. when your going to escape with half health or more most times, I would recommend taking something else.

This can help a lot to strip the CC effects that might get slammed on you.. however, if people are dropping their CC on you then they will likely loose the team fight. Also, Feint can keep DoT effects from killing you as you flee (even more often than Cleanse).

I know, I know.. everyone thinks this spell is a nub check. Now, I'm not saying that it's a good option, but it is OK because there will be times when you die in battle (you're the tank, better you than them) and your ult is up. If you pop revive then drop ult right away, you can really shut the other team down.

This spell is good when used to give you or your ally FB or really early team fights at buff or something. But it can be really harmful too. If you have a strong healer then you really shouldn't take it because of the debuff it applies to everyone it touches. Same is true for regen champs like Dr. Mundo, Olaf and Warwick.

Bad Option(s)

Pretty much a sucky ability all around.. I could see maybe taking it with Taric (to pair with ult) but other than that.. I really don't see taking this.

Situational Options

If you are jungling. Not recommended for this build.

If nobody else takes this and you are worried about your teams output.. to many tanks or support + no healing debuffs in team.

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This is just a few things to keep in mind while running around the rift.

  • Banshee's Veil will absorb Shadow Dash, so throw a Vorpal Blade to break banshee's before taunting.
  • Ki strike's cool down gets reduced when you are attacked by enemy champs.
  • If you don't hit with Shadow Dash you net 2x energy consumption from using it.
  • Some champs go through periods in which they can't be taunted (Olaf, Target with Morg's shield, etc.)
  • Some items/summoner spells/champ spells clear taunt (cleanse, Quicksilver Sash, Gangplank's heal, etc.)
  • Ult isn't what it used to be! Just be aware of the nerf when calculating your save (rank 1 is very weak).

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Don't forget to keep an eye on your squishy friend!

Well, I added this section because it is a cool vid... no other real reason.
This is another pretty awesome save. Thought I would share it.

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Shen First Blood clips.. just for fun

Don't intentionally grab FB if you can give it to someone else, but it will some times happen.