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Shen Build Guide by Bligen97

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Bligen97

Shen - The Splitpush Ninja

Bligen97 Last updated on August 6, 2013
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LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #24 in
Top Lane
Win 49%
Get More Stats

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: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21


Utility: 0

Top Shen Guide

Table of Contents:

A little bit of information about our ninja

Pros & Cons
Pros & Cons of our ninja

Mastery choices explained

Rune choices explained

Summoner Spells
Summoner spells and viable choices explained

Shen's abilities explained

Item choices explained

Tips about gameplay as Shen

Top Lane Matchups
Tips how to deal with other top laners

Summary of this guide

Shen is a very strong top laner, he can sustain very well in lane and provide global support to his team after level 6 with Stand United, he can also completely turn a teamfight arround with a well used Shadow Dash.

Shen's Stats

Simple explanation of the guide: At the top click any chapter's name you want to check out, then after you finish reading you can click Table of Contents at the right side above every single banner and come back to the top! Enjoy!

  • Has good sustain
  • Has a global ultimate
  • Has a taunt
  • Good splitpusher
  • Decent damage even if full-tank
  • Relies on early game
  • Long cooldown ultimate
  • High energy cost for taunt
  • Long ultimate cast time
  • Often banned


When playing a top lane Shen you need to be tanky, so I focus my masteries in the defensive tree.

Mastery explanations:
Summoner's Wrath - This mastery increases your attack damage and ability power by 5 while Ignite is on cooldown, which might not be very much, but it's same as 3points in Brute Force (not possible) and 2.5points in Mental Force all in 1point.

Fury - This mastery is just to get additional points to advance in the offensive tree, and it's better than the 3% cooldown reduction.

Blast - This mastery gives you a little bit of aditional ability power, which means you will deal more damage with your Shadow Dash, and get better shields with Feint and Stand United.

Arcane Knowledge - This mastery gives you 8% magic penetration, meaning your Vorpal Blade, Shadow Dash and Sunfire Cape will all deal more damage even if your opponents stack magic resistance.

Durability and Veteran's Scars - These masteries provide you with a total of 136health at lv18 which isn't a huge amount, but it's the best you can get while advancing in the defensive mastery tree.

Hardiness and Resistance - These masteries give you 5armor and 5magic resistance, this amount becomes useless lategame sure, but early game it can make a huge difference.

Unyielding and Block - These two masteries reduce the damage you take from enemy champion basic attacks by 5, it might not be late game, but early game when you use mostly basic attacks, it can save your life.

Relentless and Tenacious - These two masteries make you virtualy onslowable unless you're being attacked by a wild Ashe! Combined with some tenacity items this means you can ignore most of the enemy team's crowd control and stay active.

Reinforced Armor - This mastery makes the Lethality mastery useless for enemy AD's, it also removes 20% of Infinity Edge's affect. So to sum it up this mastery makes you less vulnerable to overpowered crit damage!

Honor Guard - This is pretty self-explanatory, it reduces damage taken from all sources by 3%, meaning you take 3% less damage! So it will take 3% more time to kill you. The point is - it makes you tankier!


Greater Mark of Precision

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed

greater mark of hybrid penetration - These marks give you a nice boost in both armor and magic penetration, meaning you will deal more damage with your basic attacks and spells.

Greater Seal of Armor - These seals provide you with a decent boost in flat armor, which means you can have an easier laning phase, because you can freeze the lane easily, and won't take as much damage from taunted targets. If enemy top laner is AP you can change these for Greater Seal of Scaling Armor.

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist - These glyphs provide you with a flat boost of magic resistance, making it easier to lane vs top laners like Vladimir or Rumble and help you late game aswell when you need to tank the APC. If your opponent laner is AD you can change these for Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist.

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed - These quintessence provide you with a nice boost in movement speed, which means you can roam a lot more, and be more mobile during fights which is always a nice thing.

When playing Shen I usualy take Flash and Ignite since it provides you with many posibilities: Flash-> Shadow Dash to taunt an opponent without him reacting, or simply Flash away from sticky situations aswell as finishing off an opponent, or reduce someone like Volibear from healing, as Ignite has the grevious wounds affect which reduces the healing by 50%.

Other viable summoner spells
Teleport - Teleport is a viable choice, because it gives Shen huge global presence, not only do you have Stand United to save your teammates and get a kill, but you can also use Teleport, so you have even more splitpushing potential.

Exhaust - Exhaust is a viable choice when you think your opponent will be dishing out a lot of heavy damage and you need to weaken him, it can also be taken when your team refuses to use anything besides Ignite

Ghost - Ghost is a viable choice when you have Shen completely mastered and dominate most of the games, but it's better used with more damage-oriented builds.

Ki Strike - This is Shen's passive ability, it makes it so that every 8seconds his auto attack deals additional magic damage equal to 4 x his level + 10% of BONUS health, and regenerate him 10/20/30energy. The cooldown of this also reduces by 1second every time Shen hits an opponent with a basic attack.

Vorpal Blade - This is Shen's Q ability, it throws a sword at a target opponent dealing magical damage, and healing anyone who attacks the target within 5second for 1.5% of Shen's maximum health. If this attack lasthits a target, it will trigger only 33% of the heal affect.

Feint - This ability gives Shen a decent shield for 70/115/160/205/250 (+60% of ability power), which lasts for 3seconds or until it's broken obviously. Also while Feint is active, Ki Strike's cooldown is reduced by 2seconds for each basic attack instead of 1second.

Shadow Dash - This ability is Shen's taunt, it makes him dash a short distance and taunts all enemy champions in the path for 1.5seconds, obviously also dealing damage along the way. For every champion hit - this ability restores Shen 40energy, so the 120energy cost is refunded if used it's used well.

Stand United - This is Shen's ultimate ability, when cast on an ally champion, it grants him a shield which absorbs 250/550/850 (+150% of AP) damage, and after a 3second cast time, if Shen isn't interrupted (silence, stun, knockup) he teleports to the ally.

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Vorpal Blade - Maxed first, since it provides a lot of sustain in lane, and provides health regeneration for your allies aswell.

Feint - Maxed second, as it provides a nice shield, but doesn't last very long and doesn't help your teammates in any way.

Shadow Dash - Maxed last, but a point in it at lv2, as it can be a great escape method if getting ganked, or can lock down an opponent if your jungler is there. In teamfights it can save your team big time if you taunt the right people, as while taunted they are unable to use an abilities or attack anyone else.

Stand United - Put points in it whenever possible, because it reduces the cooldown which means you can splitpush more often, and increases the shield which means you can turn a fight arround big time.

Starting items:
I suggest starting the game with a Rejuvenation Bead, 2 sight ward and 4 Health Potion. This alowes you to stay in lane for quite a while, until the 8minute mark if you play carefuly and don't want to lane without wards. Another viable start is 2 Rejuvenation Bead, sight ward and Health Potion if you're confident you won't need potions.

First recall:
On your first trip back there's a lot of things you can do depending on how you played out your lane. If you farmed well, and got a couple of kills get a Sunfire Cape and Boots of Speed, if you haven't been doing so well get Giant's Belt, if your opponent is a heavy AD champion Chain Vest, if your opponent is AP get Mercury's Treads early.

Example build #1:
Mercury's Treads - These boots provide you with tenacity which reduces the duration of crowd control, so you can spend less time stunned and more time taunting everyone!

Sunfire Cape - This item provides you with a nice boost in armor and health, which are both very useful for Shen, but it also deals a lot of damage with the passive if the teamfight goes on.

Wit's End - This item provides you with a nice boost in attack speed and magic resistance, it also makes your basic attacks deal extra 42magic damage and steal 5magic resist from your target, so your Sunfire Cape deals even more damage!

Warmog's Armor - This item gives you a huge boost in health, meaning you can survive longer, aswell as increasing the damage on Ki Strike and healing on Vorpal Blade.

Randuin's Omen - This item gives you a nice boost in armor and health, but the passive and active are also nice, it reduces the attack and movement speed of people attacking you, while the active slows only the movement speed for targets arround you.

Frozen Mallet - This item gives you a nice boost in health, and some attack damage, but the main reason to get it is the on-hit slow which means it will be easier for your team to catch up and finish off the opponents.

Item Sequence

Sunfire Cape

Wit's End

Warmog's Armor

Randuin's Omen

Frozen Mallet

Example Build #2
Ninja Tabi - These boots provide you with a nice boost of armor, aswell as blocking 10% damage dealt by basic attacks, so you can tank AD carries more easily.

Zephyr - This item provides you with attack speed, movement speed and attack damage boosts, which are all quite useful for Shen, but the main reason to get this is the tenacity which you don't get since you replaced Mercury's Treads with Ninja Tabi.

Wit's End - Still an essential item for damage oriented Shen, as it deals more damage on-hit and reduces opponent's magic resistance.

Sunfire Cape - This item provides you with a bit of tankyness, aswell as giving you the burn which works extremely well with Wit's End's passive.

Maw of Malmortius - This item gives you some magic resistance which is quite useful, aswell as giving you some attack damage so you can deal more damage! Also the passive can save your life multiple times throughout the game.

Frozen Mallet - This item makes you tankier, because Shen will always remain a tank, no matter what, but gives you nice damage and sticking potential.

Item Sequence


Wit's End

Sunfire Cape

Maw of Malmortius

Frozen Mallet

Situational Items:
Spirit of the Ancient Golem - This item is considered jungler-only item by some people, but it provides a very nice boost of health, health regen and gives you tenacity, which can be useful if you don't get Mercury's Treads.

Spirit Visage - This item can be gotten instead of Wit's End if you just want to get tankier, this item also works very well with Warmog's Armor, increasing the health regeneration very well.

Guardian Angel - This item gives you very nice defensive stats, making you quite a bit tankier and pretty much giving you a second life! But sadly this item has no offensive uses, and will be useless and even wasted if you get cought out.

Thornmail - This item works very well against teams that have heavy AD champions, and even if they don't focus you, you can always taunt them and make them attack you that way. But this item is pretty much useless against AP champions as it doesn't reflect spell damage.

Trinity Force - This item gives you a little bit of everything, but isn't the best choice if you're behind. It only helps if you're ahead and want to extend your lead by having more offensive stats like a slow, a spellblade and so on.

Early game:
In early game phases, try to play passive and not get too aggresive, early game Shen is not made for dueling. Just sit back, and lasthit minions, if you have to move up to lasthit, first of all throw Vorpal Blade. If you get poked and need to heal up, stop just last hitting with Vorpal Blade, throw it at a minion with low hp, but not low enough to kill it, then use basic attack on it - that way it will heal you three times as much.

Accepting ganks:

Lv2 All-In:
Shen has an amazing first blood rate, because of his extremely powerful lv2. Best tactic for it would be to let the opponent push the first wave of minions a little bit, so he has to come out further from his tower and you have better chances to kill him, when the second wave of minions comes start pushing it, you need to get lv2 before your opponent. Once you kill enough minions for lv2, quickly Shadow Dash on the enemy, and throw Vorpal Blade on him (I suggest using control lvlup to upgrade skills fast), this way you get some good crowd control on him, and heal up if he hits you back. And since you pushed the lane your opponent probobly isn't lv2 yet, so you have additional attack damage and defenses to beat him.

Late game:
Once everyone starts grouping, you should stay as far away from your team as possible and splitpush (with ward obviously) if your Stand United is up, because you can splitpush and ether your opponents will have to send someone to stop you (most likely two people) and your team can engage, or they lose tower. And if your opponenets initiate simply use Stand United and get in the fight making it 5v5 again!


In teamfights, try to Shadow Dash through as many opponents as possible, as soon as possible. Because if you taunt the enemy AP carry, it means they won't be able to burst your squishy teammates, and won't even be able to use spells at all, if you taunt AD carry, they will focus all they damage on you, while your team hammers on them. But try to avoid putting yourself in a bad spot, where you wouldn't have any chance of escaping if your teammates die. So once you Shadow Dash, throw Vorpal Blade on the champion that your team is focusing, that way your teammates regenerate health whenever they hit him. Once the opponents start focusing you, use Feint to deny some of that damage. If you see that it's going bad because of your opponent team's damage over time to your carry, use Stand United point blank range just for the shield, that might save the teamfight. And remember to always hit the same target as your AP carry, since you have Wit's End you can reduce a target's magic resistance by 25, which is better than Sorcerer's Shoes or Liandry's Torment penetration!

Late to fights:
Late to the fight:
Lets say you were splitpushing, but your team decided to go all-in, or you got cought a bit earlier and died. Well that is no problem if you have Stand United ready. Simply wait until the fight breaks out, and seek out the teammate that your opponents are focusing, then use Stand United on him, and make full use of the shield. After you get there Shadow Dash through as many people as possible, and once again throw Vorpal Blade on someone who is getting focused.

To save you some time and so that you don't have to scroll for an hour to find the matchup you want to I've devided them into spoilers alphabeticly, simply click it to open.




Overall Shen is a very fun champion to play, but requires a lot of map awarance and works amazingly if you have teamspeak with your team.

Change Log

2013.07.30 Posted The Guide
2013.07.31 Updated Runes
2013.07.31 Explained Masteries More Widely
2013.08.01 Added Change Log
2013.08.02 Added Lv2 All-In Strategy At Gameplay Section
2013.08.04 Explained Situational Items Aswell
2013.08.06 Added The Sweet Picture At Table Of Contents! Also Got 1k Views :)