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Shen Build Guide by Enraged Insanity

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Enraged Insanity

Shen's Balls of Steel - [Top-/Botlane Tank-Guide!]

Enraged Insanity Last updated on August 7, 2012
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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.



Offense: 1

Honor Guard

Defense: 21

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 8

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Thanks for beanbean for this awesome fanart. Click here to see the original

I would like to present you my first Guide. I play Shen from the first minute and for 400-500 games now. He was my first main champion. So I guess I am a pretty experienced player and now I hope I can lead you to same success.
Of course, you can change some items, I will show some useful alternatives.

If you have questions just leave a comment above and I'll try to answer to it!

The name of this guide refers to a nice guy: Grasshyren.
22 seconds show your Shen's durability in his video! :p
...well don't take this "proof" too serious.

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What comes next?

  • Screenshots for the Dash-Usage with closer description.
  • Mastery Choices
  • More detailed information about spells and abilities.
  • A nice banner :-)
  • ...

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Pros and Cons


+ Awesome stamina/durability on lane
+ Extremely useful survival-skills
+ Taunt brings up a good control
+ Your mates will love you for your ultimate
+ Can be anywhere on the map and defend mates and towers


- low damage output
- you probably die saving your team
- You need to avoid killstealing and creepkilling unless u are alone on toplane.

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First we start with the Regrowth Pendant and a Health Potion.

Well like I said before I played many games with Shen and tried a lot of Items.
Doran's Shield is useful, but it does not keep you longer on a lane just because you have some more Health Points. Ruby Crystal Ruby Crystal is a mystery for me, since it does not give you much health and you can get it later. Well I prefer those start items because you can stay at your lane longer than your enemies and for hard cases you can still use the health potion.

Try to stay as long as possible till you got like 1200 gold. When you go back sooner, try to get Boots of Speed. Then you can buy Heart of Gold to increase your health and it gives you some valuable Gold coins on top.
Dont forget: Health Potions are cheap and useful.

After that, you should pick up Mercury's Treads. They are the best tank boots because they decrease slows, stuns and snares. Also it gives a nice Magic Resistance, which is important to balance your Armour/Magic Resistance ratio. (You got armour from the runes.)

When you got enough gold for the Giant's Belt, take it! It's a gooood item to extend your healthbar and at this point you are the champ with most health on the map. You can easily surprise your enemies with a long durability and maybe some cautious towerdives.

Gj but just one thing to add (maybe) if you're buying giants belt and enemy jungler/ad carry does too much dmg by ganking/teamclash buy Chain Vest before you finish warmorgs ;)

=> So if you are facing enemies like Xin Zhao you can get a chain vest first and finish Warmog's Armor afterwards.

After that you should complete your starting item by combining it with the Giant's Belt to get the fattest health-item ever: Warmog's Armor.

So far, so good. Now you completed your "healthcare" and have to decide.
Has your enemy team many AD champions like Ashe or Tryndamere?
Or are there hard AP champs like Lux or Malzahar?

I will offer you 3 possibilities at this point:

  1. Get Aegis of the Legion for a mixed enemy team. It is also good since your team gets an awesome aura.
  2. Get Force of Nature for a mage enemy team ( Negatron Cloak first). Force of Nature combines well with Warmorgs because your health Regeneration is so high that you dont need to go back to your base when you don't want it.
  3. Get Thornmail for a high attack damage enemy team. It blocks physical damage wonderfully and reflects it to the attacker. Works wonder against AD carries like Tryndamere.

You should always buy two of these items, if your team is mixed, get Aegis first and then add Force of Nature or/ and Thornmail.

After that you can complete your Heart of Gold to Randuin's Omen. Is there an item slot left, buy Warden's Mail first.

If you get to ultra-late-game (like 55 minutes) you can sell the Aegis of the Legion since the Aura is now more or less useless and exchange it for an item you want to get. A possibility here is Guardian Angel or Wit's End [Awesome Attackspeed, good for fast tower pushs and minion kills].

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Alternate Item Choices

My Itembuild on the top of the page only represents my favorite build. It is very balanced and can be used for defense and aggressive playing.

Now I will present some alternatives for items:
Warmog's Armour is a great health item, but it does nothing else.
So why I don't pick the Sunfire Cape or Frozen Mallet instead?

The positive effect of Sunfire Cape is the great additional damage. It's good for pushing and combines well with Thornmail's damage. The bad effect of it is that you are barely able to push towers. If an enemy gets the passive damage of the Sunfire Cape, the turret will focus you and force you to go back. So it makes towerpushing impossible, when your enemies are near by.

Frozen Mallet instead? Okay, cool way to gain some more damage, a nice packet of health and freezing effect. You can slow your enemies with it and support a kill better.
But you got your Exhaust also and THIS is the big deal for getting a nice kill for you team. If you combine it with your Taunt, it is enough to get an enemy down.

A good one too is Rylai's Crystal Scepter. AP Shen is strong because his Feint blocks more damage, Vorpal Blade deals more damage [60% scaling!] and the ulti scales 150%(!). But why your ulti should block 1200 damage? 850 in lategame is more than enough. The Feint only lasts 3 seconds, is hard to handle and the Vorpal Blade will be the only aggressive spell, which does not have the potential of a real AP-champion.

So I prefer the Warmog's Armor, because it uses the potential of Shen best. He is a great tank and should played like that.

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Seals: Greater Seal of Resilence
Glyps: Greater Glyph of Resilence

Both will give you +19 Armor which will make you stronger against minions general AD attacks. So they are useful on toplane(Tank or AD carry) and botlane (AD Carry).

Marks: Greater Mark of the Fortitude
Quintessences: Greater Quintessence of the Fortitude

They give you awesome 109 HP on top. So your starting HP is like 650 HP.

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Shen's Skills

Vorpal Blade is a fantastic Skill for farming and combines well with your KI-Strike. You can harass your enemy with a Dash+Ki-Strike+Vorpal Blade good. This works in Early and maybe in Midgame. In lategame your damage is pretty low and the Vorpal Blade is only effective for lasthitting creeps.

Feint is a nice ability to block incoming attacks such as Requiem, Ignite and many skillshots. Blocking skillshots needs skill and a good reaction, but its possible, trust me ;)

On top and on botlane your Shadow Dash is an important tool. You can use it for initiating, taunting, saving allies and to get out of the fight by dashing through a wall.
How to dash properly will be explained in the chapter "Chasing, Being Chased."

Your Ultimate. Everyone knows it. Your allies love it and your enemies will fear it and start to flame you when you use it good. It gives your mate a 250/550/850 shield and port you after charging directly to him. After you ultied someone you should use your dash to lure him away from his target which is surely out of Health.

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Summoner Spells

I prefer Exhaust and Teleport for plenty of reasons.

Many Shen players use Flash. I think its not necessary to use this spell. If you can use your Shadow Dash right, you won't need the flash often, so here is free space for Exhaust. Exhaust is a wonderful spell, because you can use it in defensive and aggressive ways.
Aggressive: Disabling/chasing AD champions
Defensive: Taunt and Exhaust under tower is almost every time a kill, also when your health is very low.

Please note: Use Exhaust in teamfights only against the AD carry. It will set the focus on him and disable the damage.

Teleport is very underrated, but a perfect spell for Shen.
After your ulti usage you need to def your turret? No problem! Just port back and taunt your enemy to death!
During a teamfight someone backdoors your Inhibtower? Just port back and send this backdoorer back to his dark hole!
You want to push an tower fast? Port on the creep which is attacked by the turret. It will be invincible until you arrive and provide a fast, surgical towerkill.

Ghost is a nice ability to get into and out of fights fast. You can chase you enemy. But... which tank needs this? You need to stay in a fight and take the damage. You don't need kills, so why chase? Since you got your Shadow Dash you can speed up yourself a bit and
if you chase with your allies, you can pull back your target.
If you want to use Ghost to initiate, you can also use the Dash. If you use it right, you can focus an enemy fast and exhaust is just more useful here.
The mobility you gain with Ghost is a good point, but you still got your two ports. You can port everywhere on the map, more mobility is not really needed. Well, everything depends on your playstyle.

Ignite: No, just no. You need to give the kills to your carries.
Revive: ...forget about this one.
Cleanse: Hmm... You got Mercury's Treads, right? You won't need it.
Clarity: Mana? No. Naaah. Noes, niente, nada.
Smite: Eh, for Jungle-Shens. I don't like to jungle with Shen. Well he can do it, but there are many champs who can do it better and faster.

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Top or Botlane, that is the question.



+ many creepkills
- low ulti usage, need to protect tower
- can be boring, if your enemy plays defensive


+ more flexibility => You can use your teleport to defend every tower, when your lane is covered ; more ulti usage
+ some kills, many assists
+ more fun to play (in my opinion)
- less creepkills

Both can be fun and both is team dependent: If you don't have a toplaner, go top, if you don't have a support, go bot.

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Use it in the first minute to get faster to your tower (2 dashs are possible till you reached your turret.)
The Dash supports the aggressive and the defensive play style. If you experienced, you can dash right to your enemy, give him the KI-Strike and run back. Its a nice early game harass.
You get more lasthits with your Vorpal Blade by skilling it fast and using it wisely. Especially when you are against two enemies, it will be the only chance to get some creepkills.


Imagine you will be ganked by a jungler. Now there are some possibilities to get out of it. The Shadow Dash is now the most important skill and you need to use it in the right moment. The best is, when you use your Feint to block some damage and wait for your enemies to use flash-like abilities. When they are right behind you, dash back to your tower and try to stay alive. If they dive, your moment has come. You wait for your next Shadow Dash cooldown and if possible, taunt your enemy. Your enemy will now get the tower's attention, and you Exhaust him. He cant run away and in worst case he is able to kill you. If not, he will die under the tower and you got a kill, YEAH!

Keep in mind that if you use your ultimate, your turret is unprotected. Your taunt will keep everyone away if he is not ******ed enough to attack your tower when you are close by.
However, if you use your ulti you should have your Teleport. So you can help your teammate and go back to the tower fast if it is under attack.

Push the tower when your enemy gives you the chance and dash away when they attack you. Best way to push a tower is to do it with allies who deal more damage. This will provide a fast tower takedown.

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You also can use your dash to get faster to your turret and if you want to get a nice place in the bushes. But you should keep it available when you are close to the bushes. Maybe there are enemies waiting already, so u need to dash out. If you meet an AD carry alone (e.g. Ashe) you dash to her and give her your KI-Strike. If your lanemate is with you and able to deal some damage, exhaust your target and try to kill it with your mate. Your firstblood/assist is save like that, but in the most cases your enemy will be forced to flash out. Thats a win also.
Then you protect your buddy by taunting your enemy, blocking skillshots (best with feint) for him. Try to be passive with the creeps and stay in the bushes. When your mate gets attacked, you dash out and taunt your enemies. Focus the weak one here. A kill in such a situation is possible since your brush damage with KI-Strike and Vorpal Blade is about 250 hp.


When you push a tower, you will be attacked by your enemies. Block the first damage with feint and when you are able try to walk behind your enemy. Then taunt back to your mate and the taunted raging idiot will follow you while being attacked by your carry. Its an awesome harass and drives your enemy insane because he has no control about his champion. [Screenshot coming soon!!] Attention! This only works with meelee champs!

The babysitting is the same like in early + Ultimate usage.
Use your Ultimate Stand United to protect your team and dash to the aggressor to disable his damage output. You don't worry about using the port or not. When your Carry can survive 5 more seconds and can kill 2 enemies in that time, the shield was more than worth it.
Your mates will tell you that you should have babies with them or marry them. Well, I heard a lot like that...

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End of laning phase: Lategame

Lategame is on both lanes the same because the laning phase just ended. Sounds logical.

So, if you go into teamfights the saving of your mates is pretty important. When retreating, try to cover them from skillshots (e.g. Ezraels Q-Skill, Caitlyns Ultimate)
If you see a mate with low health, use your Ulti without any doubts (except its a 5vs1, then you should not help if you don't want to die also.) It is not that important to surprise your enemy with your port, its much more important to block damage and save your buddy.

Take the damage of teamfights by taunting multiple targets and help to kill the towers by taking their damage also.

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Chasing, Being chased.

Will be updated soon! Pictures of dashes will appear here...

Some information in advance now:

Your dash works through every wall, when you can see the arrow of it on the other side. If the peak of the arrow reaches the ground texture of the other side, you can dash through the wall. Simple, isn't it? Try it in a botgame to get a feeling of it. The cooldown is pretty high so you NEED to learn how to use it wisely.

Note: In 3on3 you can use it on nearly every wall. Hard to master is only to flip through the Basewall. You need to do it very straight and on the heigt of the nexus. Practise it a bit... :)

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Well this is the end of my guide at first.

Shen is an awesome tank, because he can be supportive, aggressive, assassinlike, chasing, getting out of fights, ... In short: Balls of Steel. Shen is an unkillable Ninja if you use him right.

I will add many more details later but now I hope you can try it with the information I gave you. :)

Please upvote this guide if it helped you and let me know if you see something I can improve.

Thanks for reading!