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Shen Build Guide by jakemwp

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author jakemwp

Shen, the Broken

jakemwp Last updated on March 19, 2012
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Summoner's Rift Builds


Twisted Treeline Builds

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.



Offense: 8

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 1

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Work In Progress

Things to come:

  • Finishing the team fights/teamwork section
  • Obligatory Warding Section
    I've decided I'm not going to do this, but here is a fantastic guide on warding.
  • Counter Jungling Section
  • Fleshing out my Solo Top Build
  • A Dominion Guide/Build
  • Maybe a 3v3 build, but I hate Twisted Tree Line
    I am on a ranked team for this now, and my win ratio with shen is almost 100% (6/1 so far)

Now this guide won't be getting the attention it deserves since I go to school full time and work full time, but rest assured I will be making progress whenever I get the time.

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So Shen has been my main tank for quite some time. He used to be a pretty solid top who ended up as a great tank and had some good support elements. His new changes make him overpowered in my opinion. I have been testing out the Jungle and Solo top, but I have heard that he CAN be used in mid. I personally wouldn't recommend it because of the current meta, but it can be done.

Even with the rework to amp up his damage and threat late game- he still doesn't play like any other tank. He isn't the grenade that is is Amumu, he isn't the support/interrupt that is Alistar, he isn't the gankmaster Rammus, and he definitely isn't the interrupt/burst that is Leona. Shen still has his support elements, but he aslo has fantastic sustained damage throughout the fight. So I would say that Shen is about being a tank first, sustained damage on a single target, and supporting his team.

Edit: Shen is actually more of a bruiser now, so I would say that he's about high sustained damage, then tankiness, and then support.

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Pros and Cons


  • Unexpectedly high sustained damage
  • Very tanky
  • Support elements
  • Borderline broken champion with the new buffs
  • He's a Flippin' Ninja
  • Not a very well known champion in lower levels

  • No AoE abilites aside from his Taunt
  • Not very viable as a pure support
  • Dependent on farm now
  • Potentially permaban once people realize what he can do

I feel like almost all of these cons can be overcome fairly easily- aside from the last one. The only real solution to that one is most people who play him won't care enough to actually master him, and will be dependent on his... broken buffs to do well.

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Masteries/Summoner Spells

So the masteries might look a bit strange to you, but I have studied them and run Shen's Jungle several times to find the best options.

He needs the all of the attack speed from the offense tree to speed up his jungle, and the bonus health from the defense tree helps him speed up the jungle with his Ki Strike and it makes the jungle safer too. The other things in the defense tree really make his post jungle much stronger.

Most summoner spells are viable on Shen, but dependent on the play style you choose- in the jungle there are several plenty that are good choices.


- This is a necessity. Period. If someone tells you that jungling without smite is a good idea, then you can know that they don't know what they are talking about. You need it to secure buffs, Dragon, and Baron.

- This is perfect spell for positioning for Shadow Dash, and it gives you an ungodly range on your first gank.


- Also solid for positioning Shadow Dash and one of my personal favorites. It is also great for map mobility, chasing, and escaping.

- Incredibly useful for solo top since Stand United will often leave you WAY out of position and you need to get back to your lane. I would never take this in the jungle though.

- Similar usefulness as ghost, but it doesn't help you position for Shadow Dash.

- If you take the mastery for it you can buff you AD and your AP which will help early in the jungle, and it scales great into late game.

- Prevents you from being disabled, and is just generally a nice little thing to have. Personally I would stick with Flash or Ghost, but it can be useful.

- The AS is brilliant, and the AP does give him that extra buff for you Vorpal Blade, Shadow Dash, and both of your shields.

For Jungle Shen, everything else falls into this category.

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Greater Mark of Attack Speed - This attack speed is pretty much a necessity in the jungle, and I would even recommend it to people playing solo top. The attack speed and Shen's new passive are essentially best friends, or maybe even friends with benefits. Either way- don't try to keep them apart.


Greater Mark of Magic Penetration - Magic Penetration will buff your damage on the Vorpal Blade, Shadow Dash, and Ki Strike. It would be nice, but I feel like the increased damage and speed from the Greater Mark of Attack Speed is better.


I'm always a fan of the classic Greater Seal of Armor for better defense in the jungle and against champions in mid game, but the extra 13 armor never hurt anyone late game either.


All of the health seals are pretty solid too:

Greater Seal of Endurance is my favorite since it scales best into the late game, and it is something that I have been looking into buying in general. I think this would be fantastic on Shen, but I haven't been able to experiment with them yet.

Greater Seal of Vitality and Greater Seal of Health are pretty solid choices for amping up the damage off Ki Strike and giving some extra sustain.


Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist is my favorite, again because it is tanky and scales best into the late game.


Greater Glyph of Magic Resist has a solid early game boost, and I would definitely take it if you are going to try and solo mid or maybe on solo top. I would never take these in the jungle unless I didn't have the scaling.


Greater Quintessence of Health has been one of my favorites from the start. It is great for giving you a safer jungle, giving you Ki Strike more damage, and it fits on just about any champion if you decide you don't want to play Shen anymore.


Shen has a HUGE list of Quintessences that fit perfectly on Shen. The extra health from Greater Quintessence of Endurance and Greater Quintessence of Vitality are obvious. I still haven't had a chance to experiment with these, but I would take the percent over the scaling.

Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed will give you a faster jungle, and will almost give you the same benefit as taking a Dagger as your starting item. I think these would fit perfectly on jungle Shen but I wouldn't take them for solo top.

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed is great for helping you position yourself for Shadow Dash, give you great mobility around the map, great for chasing/escaping, and will give your ganks a solid buff throughout the jungle phase of the game. Honestly I think they are perfect for just about any tank because they make initiating a breeze.

Greater Quintessence of Gold is a definite possibility for you, but Shen should be getting a really solid farm from jungle, top, or god forbid- mid. If you are trying for a full support Shen then taking these are probably a necessity.

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Jungle Route/Starting Items

Taking a Dagger and a health portion as your first item then his Ki Strike will proc on every third attack with Feint up, and without it then it is every fourth. The math adds up to an extra 10 attack damage per attack which dramatically decreases jungle time.

Unfortunately it takes back one of Shen's best attributes- a safe jungle. You can get a full clear in well under four minutes, but you come out well under half health and in no position to gank a lane. You can slow down the jungle by under a minute, but have much safer time of it. You can start with just about anything that gives health. Regrowth Pendant and the Ruby Crystal are my favorites because they build into other items nicely, but Dorran's Sheild will help you start quite a bit stronger.

Shen can start just about anywhere in the Jungle, but I still recommend starting at either Blue or Red with a leash. Red will give a solid level two gank on a lane, and not being dependent blue makes Shen just that much scarier in jungle. With the simlpicity of "new" jungle and the ridiculous sustain that Shen has- I don't really feel the need to write out a whole route.

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Shen's toolkit is quite a bit more complicated than it used to be, he now takes an incredible amount of finesse to play correctly.

- This is now the core of what makes Shen Shen. It does 4+6*lvl+10% of yourBONUShealth. It also returns 10/20/30 energy when it procs- meaning that this can help make up for missed taunt (at least in the energy department). This normally takes effect every 8 seconds, but auto attacks decrease that time by 1.5 seconds each. If the shield from Feint is up then auto attacks reduce the wait by 3 seconds. This essentially means that attack speed is now a necessity to get at many Ki Strikes as possible.

- This is your highest damage ability, and it gives you the sustain in jungle and on top. The health return per rank is fairly insignificant, but the 2% of your max health is just silly. The heal does take effect over 3 seconds and a second attack on the target only resets status buff that is the heal, so hitting it three times in 4 seconds gives you around 4-5% of your max health - NOT 6%. The damage scales for 55 damage every rank but with the buffs it only scales with 60% ability power instead of the old 75%. Don't hesitate to last hit with this since you get 1/3 of the heal even if you can't attack with it. I max this first.

- A nice little shield that lasts for 2.5 seconds. The primary function of this ability is to get your passive to proc more often, so you only need your shield to last for 2 auto attacks. To master Shen you NEED to be able to pop this shield right before your first auto attack so you only need it to last a split second to get your second auto attack. In the jungle I max this second to some extra sustain, but on top I only take three ranks and then finishing maxing his taunt. This is also great for damage over time spells and escapes, but that doesn't take much timing at all.

- This is what makes you an amazing tank- a 1.5 second taunt that halves halves the damage output of their carry. On top of that it has a tiny amount of damage, and doesn't scale very well of AP. It also breaks any channeled ability. Think Nunu's Absolute Zero, Katarina's Death Lotus, and Caitlyn's Ace in the Hole. If there champions like this on the enemy team, then you should probably wait to use your taunt on them. If there aren't, then it is fantastic for initiating and for destroying their carry. If you can taunt more than one champion then you should since each champion returns 40 energy and it does cost 120 energy.

Global ultimates can be very difficult until you adjust to it. You need to watch the whole map to see when allies are in stick situations, or if you suddenly see their health bar dropping- it might be a good time to use this. The shield only lasts 5 seconds, and the channel is 3 seconds a bit longer with the rework. The really important part of this ability is that you should only go when you can SAVE your ally- otherwise you either be wasting your ultimate or giving the other team a double kill (if they're smart). What I'm saying is- don't jump onto an ally who just got ganked by the whole enemy team.

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Starting Items

I went into this a bit in an earlier section, but here is what I would say are viable starting items for jungle Shen.

I would say his best options are as follows (in no particular order):




If I were going top I would take option #1 or option #2 since I wouldn't need the dagger (should just be last hitting- not pushing your lane).

I would NOT recommend the standard:

This is bad because Vorpal Blade and Feint give you plenty of sustain in the jungle already, but Wriggles Lattern is a pretty solid choice for the jungle phase since you are predominantly dependent on auto attacks to clear. This does give you a very safe jungle, but it makes you incredibly slow. I would never do it personally, but the choice is yours.

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Core Items

Let me try to explain my thought process here since it may look a little bit Crazy. Shen needs a couple of things to be effective: Health and Attack Speed. The idea here is to max the damage of Ki Strike by increasing it and making it proc more often.

- This is a necessity for your role as a tank, and to amp up the damage off your passive. Getting the farm to get it to max stacks should be a breeze. It gives an an extra 1270 health, some insane health regen, and 127 damage on Ki Strike at full stacks.

- This is my attack speed item of choice. 50% AS, 250 Health, and a nice little passive that stacks almost perfectly with yours. You might say it is a tad on the expensive side, which it is, but I feel like it fits Shen perfectly. There are plenty of viable AS items to build on him, but I'll get those later.


Solid for any tank- I assume if you are reading this you know the perks. If the enemy team has heavy CC or AP- build these.

- If the enemy team is AD heavy and you're worried about not being tanky enough- build these.

- These give great map mobility, and are perfect for positioning your taunt. If you are having some trouble landing it- then use these for a while to get the hang of it. I personally wouldn't recommend them, but I can see their allure.

- these are a great AS boost and are what you need if none of the above concern you.

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Tank Items

My favorites:

- More health for your passive, a bit of armor, and extra damage to anyone around you. It fits Shen like a glove, but I would only take this if you want more damage, but don't want to risk taking straight damage or attack speed.

- Gives your ganks/chasing/escapes some extra umph with that passive slow. The extra health is great, and that tiny bit of AD never hurt anyone. I would definitely recommend this item if you are having people just barely escape from you.

- This is my favorite counter to AD auto attackers. The active is brilliant, and carrying Heart of Gold around for most of the game gives you some great bonus cash.

- Again- something that builds off of Heart of Gold is always wonderful, but the active here makes your saves from Stand United just that much better. The shield doesn't hurt in team fights later on either.

- This falls under more or less the same role as the locket, but it's aura is on all the time and you don't need to worry about the active. If you have a hard time remembering to use actives for whatever reason- then take this.

- great counter to an AP heavy team- and the spell shield every 45 seconds is pretty sweet too.

- I would take this over BV since it feels better with most tanks than BV. If you have this and they are still wrecking you up, then don't hesitate to take both.

- Another counter to AD heavy teams, but I don't like it as much as Randuin's- especially on shen. With this you are paying for a useless stat- Mana. Personally I say don't waste your money, but if you need to help your team- do it.

- A great counter for AD auto attackers, and it is fantastic for dealing that that pesky Tryndamere or the every annoying Master Yi.

I would not build more than two or three of these unless you are trying to go for a full support or full tank. I feel like that approach on Shen doesn't make much sense anymore since it completely neglects his new found strengths.

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Attack Speed/Damage Items

I gave you my favorite, but here are some other solid Choices.

Zeke's Herald - This is an addition that I haven't experimented with at all, but it gives a nice balance of attack speed Shen needs and some health. The CDR would help him use Stand United more often and the life steal will you a bit more sustain, but the aura life steal is more important for your role. I haven't tried it myself, but I will later today and give some feedback.

- Definitely spikes your damage, and helps out any APs that are on your team too. The small bonuses on all your abilities doesn't hurt either.

- Gets you all the AS you need, and the CDR really helps you out on Stand United and somewhat on Shadow Dash

- Another item with plenty of AS and it helps you with the extra MR if they are AP heavy, but this is really more meant for a carry since you should just build tanky items that have MR.

- This a great item, and it can be be built into either Trinity Force or Phantom Dancer. The Attack speed is great, the crit is meh, but the movement helps alot with your positioning. Speaking of what it can be built into...

- Definitely a solid choice on the new Shen. It fits him perfectly in almost every way, but it can be a bit pricey so I would only recommend it if someone else is building tank so you are going off tank/dps.

- I haven't tried it, but it could be useful. Same perks as Zeal without the ability to build it into something else.

- Brilliant on any high health champion- the AD bonus comes out to be almost as much as 2 B.F. Swords and makes a notable difference wherever.

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Team Fights

Depending on your play style and your build- you have two options in a team fight:

#1: Tank - Focus on anyone causing trouble for your team, and taunt them to make sure they can't kill your teammates. Don't focus or get tunnel vision- you need to be around to save your teammates.

There are a few instances where you will need to take this position, but otherwise you should always go with option number two.

  • If there aren't any other tanky champions on your team
  • If there aren't many CC's on your team
  • If there you are not confident in your ability to to take out their carries

#2: The Bruiser - Chase down and kill the enemy carries. This is something that Shen now excels at. He can just tear any AD carry to pieces with his sustained damage and a taunt that halves their damage output.

I am not sure how I feel about it anymore, but this is the best role for shen to fill these days. The rework makes this the best option for shen, you should be able jump onto the carry with Shadow Dash and then rip them to pieces with auto-attacks and your Vorpal Blade

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Twisted Treeline

Role on the Team

Shen fills that niche that I'm more accustomed to in 3v3's; He is the main tank and he is there to enable his team by keeping damage off teammates and wrecking up any squishies the other team has. The team I play on runs a Tank/Bruiser solo bot, an AP on the top, and a "Jungle" that really is just jumping between lanes and picking up the jungle in the mean time. Given these roles we normally run Flash on everyone with the AP taking Ignite, the Bruiser running Exhaust, and the jungle running Smite to secure dragon and buffs. On bottom it is my job to freeze the lane just outside our turret, keep up with the farm, and put the pressure one of the two people in lane with me.

Laning Stage

In this stage you should be playing Shen as a bully. At level 1 you can't do much; but once you hit level 3 (or even level 2) you can jump in halving their damage, use your shield to absorb all of that, and use your Q you gain health during the fight. In short- your early game power is almost unmatched.


With Shen's high mobility you can have your jungler come cover for you all of 20-30 seconds while you go item and gain the edge even further over lane opponent. Essentially- you want to make sure that you (or at least someone on your team) are iteming about 3-5 minutes to make sure that you are keeping wards up.

Starting Items:


Any of these are solid options, but I listed them in my personal preference order. I really think starting Doran's gives you that extra tankiness at the start that you need to deal with a duo lane.

First trip back:

, / , and as many Sight Ward's as possible.

The first thing that you want build is boots to kite your opponents/position your taunt and HoG for the increased income. After that you want to make sure that you are placing vision wards in the middle and sight in the other parts- map awareness is much easier in 3v3's and it makes or breaks your game. That's right, wards are in the CORE of your build. If you ever have any spare money after picking up an item- grab a ward.


/ , , , , , ,

/ - AD reduction vs CC reduction with magic resist. Pick whichever is needed for the enemy team.

Wriggle's Lantern gives you that permaward, and it enables you to really help your jungler with red/dragon/and just more control. The extra armor and life steal are just a nice perk on top of the needs you have for it.

Sunfire Cape - Since tanky DPS is the name of the game, armor is something that any 3v3 build needs. This is nice way to get that armor, some health for Ki Strike, and gives you a great AoE damage aura for team fights/ Shadow Dash.

Wit's End - Gives you some amazing attack speed for Ki Strike and this is really the only Magic Resist item I ever find myself building in 3v3's since most of the damage is physical and this is really easy for Shen to get his stacks up.

Warmog's Armor - Hello super tank. That's about all you really need to know here.

Atma's Impaler - Crit + tons of AD from your tank items, if you made it this far the game should be over soon.

Oracle's Elixir - this really should be grabbed earlier on, but elixirs tend to get forgotten and just tacked on to the end of the build. If you think that having your own wards up is important- then counterwarding should be done as often as possible to make them waste money on replacing wards- or even better, to enable more ganks for your team.

Swapping out the Core

Definitely something you should do regularly- my recommendation here is to take at least 2-3 items from the "Tank Items" section, and 1-2 items from the "Attack Speed/Damage Items" Section. Build whatever you need to counter the other team most efficiently.

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So in short- shen is now a tank that excels at eliminating single targets and protecting his teammates. The two most important things for you to build are lots of health, and a bit of attack speed.

Thanks for making it this far- please vote and comment. Don't just downvote me for no reason- please help me make the build better by giving advice. Also keep in mind that it is a work in progress and I will be updating some sections quite extensively.

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2/18 - Added Zeke's
2/22 - Moved Surge to the Okay summoner spell list
2/22 - Fleshed out Solo top Core
2/23 - Added more information to the roles on your team
2/23 - Added a bit to the introduction
3/19 - Added a Twisted Treeline Build