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League of Legends Build Guide Author Xiaowiriamu

Shen - Maximizing Shens' potential *UPDATED*

Xiaowiriamu Last updated on March 24, 2011
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Top Lane
Ranked #43 in
Top Lane
Win 50%
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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: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

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

Utility: 0

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Maximizing Shens' potential

- Shadow Dash can no longer be cast while rooted
- Stand United can no longer be cast while rooted
-Fixed a bug with Shadow Dash where the taunt particle sometimes played on targets that blocked the taunt


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Shen is in my opinion one of the most perfect all round champions as in some circumstances he not only survives a lot of damage but also deals a lot of damage as well. He is one of the best counters to a range of champions including Karthus, Pantheon and Warwick. Shen is a notified tough, tanky fighter with a range of support skills that inevitably makes the other team rage.

- Feint can almost completely eliminate an enemy's damage early in the game, and using the skill at the right time can reduce the damage dealt to you by otherwise fatal global ultimate's such as Karthus Requiem
- Shen can be built as a fighter, mage or tank.
- Try to keep an eye on your allies' health, even if in remote lanes, as Stand United can be used anywhere on the map. You can use F2-F5 to target them quickly.
- Shadow Dash can also be used to cross terrain walls to both ambush and escape. It can also stop any ability that involves channeling.

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Pros / Cons

- Tanky
- Good damage output
- Has a nice wide range of skills for escape, support and damage
- Shadow Dash can be used to get over cliffs and through walls
- Vorpal Blade makes Shen a great champion for laning survival
- Great farmer
- Awesome ultimate that can save a team-mate from dieing
- Hes a ninja!
- Ultimate can be used to get away and escape
- With Frozen Mallet Shen can slow enemies for the team to get potential kills

- His damage output isn't very strong towards late game
- In some lanes he can't farm and can be easily zoned even with having vorpal
- His Shadow Dash isn't that great for escaping
- His energy is easily burned
- Having high health means you're prone to enemies getting Madred's Bloodrazor

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Core build:

why is frozen mallet even a decent item for Shen, its not even useful for him!?
Yes, i know where you're coming from, i used to think the same; however from a lot of games played with Shen in both normal, and ranked i've found that the Frozen Mallet is probably one the few items that many people underestimate in terms of use by a Tank like Shen. The Frozen Mallet provides the red effect which is that it slows your enemies down on hit making it harder for them to escape, now this is a perfect tool for Shen, who is a great 1v1 player, and not only this but also for him to slow enemies down for either your team-mates to kill the enemy or for them to run, it acts as a nice support item. furthermore the HP it grants is very useful in coexistence with Shen's Ki Strike passive, and the attack damage is a bonus. all round this item is very nice.

why warmogs?
Now i've seen a few Shen's that don't bother with Warmog's Armor, they just go outright tank, by this i mean no health items other-than possibly the odd sunfire ca[e and Banshee's Veil. now this is where i personally think they go wrong as Shen isn't just a tank, hes a tough fighter, and he should do some damage and also have some health, and with this item he not only has decent health regeneration which makes him a much harder opponent in a 1v1 as it joins with his Vorpal Blade, but also the health to give him more bonus damage on his [ki strike] passive which is very useful. However, it can be argued that health is bad for any tank as people may counter with Madred's Bloodrazor. now what i say to this is that this build is focused on being a tank and also maximizing Shens damage output.

so why Banshee's Veil a core item?
Banshee's Veil is one of my favorite items and in terms of how good the item is ill give it a 9/10. This item grants a nice set of health, mana and magic resistance and to top it all off has probably one of the most useful item passives in game, this is a must against heavy CC teams and also works as a nice counter to the majority of champions such as Karthus Malzahar and Pantheon

Items that are great for Shen

[Guardian Angel] is a item for any champion especially Shen, I would recommend this if they have a mixture of AD/AP. I do also use this about 50% of the time as the last item for Shen.

Force of nature is a great anti AP item, I would recommend this if they have a heavy AP and caster team

Aegis of the legion is an optional item; it is great for your team and i would highly recommend it if you have a team that struggles to survive (squishy) such as [teemo] [annie] [pantheon] [twisted fate].

Mercury's treads is an alternative to Ninja Tabi, use these boots if they have high CC and AP

Abyssal scepter is a nice optional item to help give you a boost in damage, i would recommend this with conjunction to Force of Nature; if they have a heavy caster team and if you want to do that extra bit of damage and provide the nice passive it withholds.

Randuin's Omen is great for when they have a high AD team. the active also can help devastate those who are trying to run or to help your team run. I would highly recommend this for an AD defense item over Thornmail as its a potential life saver and also grants HP and health regeneration.

Thornmail is an item i use as a last resort so, if they have a lot of auto attackers life Tryndamere and Ashe I'll just get this item, but i rarely use this, probably 5% of my Shen games.

Sunfire Cape is a nice item i get for Shen as its passive is not only effective but also the item grants health and a decent amount of AD defense, this is highly recommended imo as i sometimes get this first before Warmog's Armor.

Others that are good but not great:

My recommended:

Heavy AD:

Heavy AP:


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For my runes I've chosen magic penetration mixed with long term ability power. These runes combined help make Shen a strong opponent as he deals high damage with his Vorpal Blade, and also absorbs a lot of damage with his Feint and Stand United for your team-mates.

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For masteries I've simply gone 9/21/0. i've not decided to go 9/0/21 as he doesn't have any mana so most of the masteries will be useless. Furthermore, with these masteries hes tanky and the % magic penetration helps in conjunction with his runes which can cut through the enemies magic resistance with Vorpal Blade.

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Skill Overview

Ki Strike
Every 8 seconds, Shen next attack deals bonus damage. This is the main damage dealer for Shen, as in my opinion is probably one of the best passives out of all the tanky players. A great tip for maximizing the potential of this particular Ki Strike passive is to either last hit creeps or to Shadow Dash an enemy and hit them, however remember to Shadow Dash them when your blades are 'glowing' as this will indicate your passive is ready. Furthermore, with the core build you are guaranteed a high amount of damage as the skills damage is based on your % maximum HP

Vorpal Blade
Damages target unit and life taps him, healing allies that attack the target. Vorpal Blade is a great damage and regeneration skill for both your and your team, however I mainly use this skill to cut down enemies health, as it has a very short cool-down and expense of energy, furthermore it is a great skill to last hit creeps as the range is pretty decent. In addition to this, with the chosen masteries and runes your damage will be considerably high. However, if in a team fight try to make sure you have enough energy for either Shadow Dash, Feint or your Stand United as spamming Vorpal Blade in team fights isn't always the best option, no matter how much you enjoy doing 300~500 damage!

Shen takes reduced damage for a few seconds. This is a great survival skill that can be spammed when necessary to make sure you survive for those extra seconds. With the runes of Ap long term late game the [feint] shield will absorb a lot more than it original could with the average joe runes for a shen, furthermore its a great counter for Zilean's Time Bomb, Karthus' Requiem and a lot of other skills that most deem annoying.

Shadow Dash
Shen dashes rapidly toward a target location, taunting enemy champions he encounters. An awesome lifesaver and escape tool for shen, this skill should always be used to help team-mates in need such as when Malzahar Nether Grasp you should immediately taunt him so his ultimate gets 'cancelled', other champions that you can use this annoyingly deadly skill on is Pantheon when hes using his Heartseeker Strike, Warwick Infinite Duress, Karthus channeling his Requiem , ap Master Yi Meditate and fiddlestick Drain. Another important tip for shadow dash is using in on enemy champions at towers, a great method i enjoy using, even at high ranked is baiting them and then quickly adjusting myself to ensure a Shadow Dash on them helping me secure an easy kill or to make them lose a significant amount of health, using Exhaust just before taunting can also help increase the chances.

Stand United
Shen shields target allied champion from incoming damage, and soon after teleports to their location. An amazing life saver skill that puts enemies in rage because you just took a kill away from their belt. This skill is in some ways hard to time as; as the team-mate dies whilst you're channeling you don't get teleported - so it's always best to time it and also put it on the right person!! A great tip is for you to farm creeps whilst your team pushes, and when your team commences you use Stand United on the one taking most damage or an important figure in your team(fed carry maybe) who is taking some heavy damage.

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Summoner Spells

Useful Summoner spells

Exhaust is a very useful summoner spell in helping shutdown enemy carries and nukers such as Ashe Kennen Fiddlesticks Nocturne Ryze Annie and to help slow enemies down for easy kills or to run away.

Ghost is another summoner spell i find useful when using Shen as it helps to not only escape but also to help chase enemies down and use Shadow Dash to shut them down and for your team to catch up.

Ignite is another useful skill i just find helps in ensuring easy kills early game and also to anti Dr. Mundo and teams with support champions like Sona, Soraka and Taric.

Cleanse could be useful against heavy CC teams especially those who have and may have Exhaust or stuns that could inevitably stop you from something important.

Clairvoyance can be useful in helping spot enemy ganks, and since Shen is a support it fits nicely for him as supports generally have this summoner spell, however i don't recommend it.

Teleport can be argued if it's useful or not, but after some thought and clarification (Thanks grimuletz) this could come useful in conjuction with Stand United. 2 Teleports, 2 Ganks? and also if you have to use Stand United on ana lly you can always use teleport to get back to your lane more faster and efficiently, or use it to help gank if your Stand United is on cooldown.

fortify can be very handy indeed as the passive in masteries give you extra attack damage to minions and also it can help save your ally team-mates turrets. Most Shen's i've seen get this as a summoner spell. So if in doubt or they have a few turret pushers, grab this! Furthermore as expressed in this guide you can Shadow Dash enemies to cause the turret to hit them, by which put you can use this summoner spell in conjuction with exhaust so the turret does as much damage as possible, making the enemy wish they never pushed the turret in the first place!

Not so useful:

Revive I havn't really found out yet how this could be useful.

Clarity Shen doesn't need mana as he doesn't have it.

Rally This has always been useless, don't bother getting, it's a troll item :)

Flash Again, I don't know how this could be useful unless you can somehow Flash to escape which isn't really that necessary since you have shadow dash.


If jungling you can take Smite to help make jungling an easier experience.

This can be useful and then again not very useful, it all depends on the circumstances, but this can be useful in a sense of if you're really low, or you are laning with a ally who needs healing... it could also make the difference when tower diving or in a teamfight. Nevertheless i don't really recommend this.

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Shen isn't expressed as a farmer, however in my opinion he is one of the best, especially when solo-ing top, this is because he has many one hit applications such as his vorpal blade for those pesky long range champions and his passive, alongside normal attacks. Vorpal blade however is my favorite, especially with my given runes, it helps ensure a faster and efficient death for creeps making farming easier as it generally near enough to late game one hits them.

Thus so, the main tip here is to last hit creeps with vorpal blade or your passive.. So why last hit you say? Well last hitting helps you not only in getting the kill but also in making sure you dont overly push your lane so you're prone to ganks and to also help your jungler (if you have one) gank. Furthermore by last hitting you could also be zoning your opponents. What zoning? well its a term used that describes the act of whereby an enemy champion is unable or is having a decrease in experience as he can't get close to his minions as enemy champions would either kill him or hit him. Thus so he loses out of experience and money.

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Team Work

Shen is a great support champion as expressed and there are many tactics that can be exercised to achieve success in helping your team to secure a win.

As articulated, one tactic is to try to keep an eye on your allies' health, even if in remote lanes, as Shen's ultimate: Stand United can be used anywhere on the map. To keep on track on your team-mates health you can quickly press the F2~F5 keys to toggle yourself to your ally champions, for instance if Sivir was F3 (you can tell by looking top left in order of 1,2,3,4,5 going down), and you saw Sivir having a fight at bottom lane whilst you're at top, you should press F3 to see if Sivir is doing okay and whether it'll be a good time to use your ultimate Stand United

Champions that Shen works well with in duo-lane include:
Miss Fortune

Champions that Shen doesn't work so well with in duo-lane include:

However, generally speaking it does depend on how well your team-mate is and who you're facing.

Shen works well in solo-lane against a wide variety of champions, however ones to look out for and ones Shen may struggle against include:

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Overall this build expresses Shen in a way that he has maximum survivability and damage output. the core items also help utilize Shen as a support by slowing enemies down using the Frozen Mallet and also offering high health regeneration, through having additional AP (by runes and considered items), to team allies and self. I will update as soon as possible and when necessary!

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Updates to come

- How to solo lanes properly and efficiently
- Ranked play and when to pick Shen