Shyvana Build Guide by Velnidra
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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.
Hello everyone ! I go by the summoner name of Velnidra, and this is my first guide here (and first guide ever, actually :D) !
I am going to try and describe the way I play Shyvana, the Half-Dragon, on the Cristal Scar, and hopefully this will help at least some of you, and arouse other's interest enough to give her a try : she's definitely worth it.
First things first : who is Shyvana ? What kind of champion is she ? From what I have seen (haven't been playing much Summoner's Rift or Twisted Treeline lately, to be honest), Shyvana is often played as a tanky-dps-type, which means, most of the time, that she'll be rolling with the usual high-hp-quantity items (Warmog and/or Frozen Mallet) combined with Atma's Impaler, resulting in a fairly beefy Shyvana still able to dish out more than enough damage to be useful.
Others follow Phreak's Champion Spotlight guide, getting Triforce, Sunfire Cape and other stuff like that.
Habit being what it is, many try to play her that way in Dominion. I have seen some fail, some others succeed, with various degrees of success. I follow an alternate path. The Art of Swift Death and Bloody Maiming.
Be warned, lonesome traveler, that you shall be facing the scrolls of an old mystic that has lost the ability to keep his wisdom for himself. Meaning : I write a lot. Hope you like reading, we'd be a good match !
Don't hesitate to comment and rate the guide, any constructive criticism is welcome, I'll try to improve the guide according to your comments ^^ Please refrain from flaming and insulting and overall negative attitude, I'm trying to do something for you and try to be polite and light-hearted, I'd like to get the same treatment in return :)
Anyway, have a seat, take some tea, enjoy your stay :)
Pros / Cons
Fun to play : many tend to forget that this is still a game, aiming at having a fun time, and as such, to me, it is the main "pro". She's so speedy ! And the fact that you require a certain amount of efforts to be good with her makes each sucess very gratifying !
Maneuverability : her Burnout gives her such speed that, with a little practice, she becomes the nightmare of skillshot-based champions. Try catching that, Blitzcrank, you mofo !
Celerity : one word : Burnout. "Are we there yet ? I want to see the windmill ! And I need to pee !" "Yes honey, in fact, we ARE there ! :D"
Damage potential : to some summoners, the fact that she's 50% AD/50% AP, with mediocre ratios, and her 3 actual "spells" dealing magic damage, make her a little underpowered, as she's a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. Actually, if she was 100% AD, it would be A) ridiculous (how exactly would a firestorm be "physical" ?) and B) absolutely insane and overpowered. Right now, she's fine, hell, she's great !
Tanky : that's partly due to the items I recommend, but also to the passive part of her ultimate. Turning into a dragon is so "flashy" that many forget that she gets (quite noticeable) bonuses to her Armor and Magic Resist. How thoughtful. And with the new masteries I go 21 in Defense, meaning even moar tankiness. Yay !
Pusher : well, no, she's not a drug-dealer or anything. Or maybe she is, I don't care about what she's doing outside the Fields, really. But she pushes creep waves like a baws. You'll always have minions by your side helping you capture points so much faster. 'cause it's about taking and holding points, NOT CHASING FOR KILLS, FOR ****'S SAKE !!!
Coolness : yes, it IS an important argument, because just like fun, you should play champions you LIKE, not champions categorized as "OP" or "super strong". You will ALWAYS be better at playing a champion you have an affinity with. I like Riven, I like Shyvana, I like Sona, I can't play Fiddlesticks or Morgana or Lee Sin for **** ... And don't listen to haters, the dragon form may not be a 5-meters-high, Dungeons&Dragons-kind of wyrm and may tend more towards a wyvern, she's still VERY cool. And the Ironscale skin is so pretty and cute with her fiery red and purple hair flying all over the place while she shuffles :3
Lack of Crowd Control : that is her MAJOR problem, and is, quite frankly, a major pain in the backside. She's VERY team-dependant. There are several ways to try and counter this downside, but it's really an issue, especially early-game.
Takes some time to reach her full potential : most of her items are not-so-useful if incomplete, meaning that you can't roflstomp with just a Phage and level 1 boots. She's like a sweet little kitten (or dragon whelp) : you need to give her love and attention (A.K.A time and yummi-bloody-enemy-food) to make her a mighty -yet still cute- panther (or full-fledged dragon. But I like cat girls references, nyaaa~ :3 )
There are, without a doubt, better champions : that's for sure, she's not Akali, she's not Irelia, she's not Graves, she's not OP Shaco (what's that ? It's "AP" Shaco ? My mistake), she's not Jax, she's not Rammus. But not everyone can play them, or likes to do so.
Good Summoner Spells
I'll try to keep this section short (!!) and talk about the 4 spells you should consider.
: take it. Just do it. The most useful spell anyone can take on Dominion, period. Capture a point left undefended. Defend your base from that pesky Shaco/Rammus. Join a team-fight because your useless team can't do **** without you anyway. You name it, it's got it. Awesome.
: love it. Just like I always rage inside at people taking Flash instead of Ghost, I hate people taking ignite over exhaust. Exhaust is more useful on so many levels : screw up Tryndamere's rampage, prevent that foolish enemy from escaping, ruin a dive under your turret, it's amazing. And it's one of the (rare) ways to deal with the afore-mentionned lack of C.C. that afflicts her ! Great ! But ...
: ... I sincerely believe that every team should have one or, if possible, two of these. It's somewhat tricky to use it for defense, but I can't tell how many times it helped me dive a point, kill a naive enemy at half-health, and capture it. But let's face it : nobody takes it. So forget your pride, and take Garrison instead of Exhaust. You can try to convince some idiot taking Ignite to take Garrison instead, and stealthily switch yours for Exhaust at the last moment, but let's face it, as I said, he (and most others on your team, probably) is a (selfish) idiot, this game is full of them sadly, so don't count on it.
I like this one, I really do, especially with the Season 2 changes. As I'll say again later for Mercury Threads, she's very vulnerable to C.C, and this seems like a very nice way to counter it. Instead of Exhaust or Ghost, that's up to you. She still lacks a good initiation skill (except her Ultimate, of course, but I mean something like a dash/jump ; her Burnout is all nice and stuff, but it won't help you get in VS a barrage of slows and stuns), so I guess you could/should take it instead of Ghost, or if your team has 2-3 Exhausts already.
Not So Good Summoner Spells
I put every other summoner spell in the "not so good" box, but of course, there are different levels of not-so-goodness, some are quite viable, so don't take this as a "from best to worst" list, it's just in alphabetical order.
Get out ! There's, like, 98% of the map permanently uncovered, why the hell would you need Clairvoyance ? Especially since the season 2 nerf.
Clarity on a champion with no mana ? Interesting ... Sure, you could take it "for the team", but the Cristal Scar Aura should take care of most mana issues, and death will take care of the others.
I hate that spell. Why the hell would you want to flash away on a map so small ? Sure, it may save your life once in a while, but for what ? Ghost + 4 seconds-recall and you're safe, and Ghost has so many more uses ... And the nerf to Flash's reach hurt its usefulness even more, since you're easy to catch for champions with long-reach gap-closers, like Fizz.
Has improved a lot thanks to the recent changes, but you still have to remember that heals are reduced in Dominion, so ... meh. One in the team is fine, but you shouldn't be the one taking it.
I'm not too fond of Ignite on Dominion. It's like Flash VS Ghost, Ignite VS Exhaust, Ignite is useful for killing, while Exhaust helps killing, delaying an enemy for a gank, defending a point, surviving, etc.
Never understood the usefulness of that spell. Rarely seen, it doesn't seem very powerful past mid-game. Dunno, if you have experience with it and can use it efficiently, go for it I guess ?
Why would anyone take a Summoner Spell that has a ****ing NINE MINUTES cooldown ? You can use it twice in a game, how great ! Especially with death timers so short ! What's that you say ? Revive and defend a point ? Yeah right : if you died and your team doesn't help defend unmanned points, your revive won't change the outcome of the game. If 3 or more of your team died, you reviving and trying to defend in a 1v5-2v5-3v5 situation is called "suicide". Don't take it.
How sweet. Here, take a cookie and leave the grown-ups talk about grown-up stuff.
Surge : meh. Strange spell. Obviously strong for some champs who gain benefits from both aspects (Hi Jax ! Hi Fizz !), I see how it can benefit AP casters for the extra "oomph" in teamfights and stuff, but Shyvana would only really profit from the attack speed part, and she should be attacking quite fast without it already. Wouldn't recommend it. And in facts, I don't.
21 / 5 / 4, WTF was that ? Yeah well rejoice, with the news masteries, I'm back to a more classic, 21 points in something and 9 in something else, approach. Hooray !
So, why full Defense ? 'cause she may be a she-dragon *****, she's still a frail and shy young girl looking for some protection and security, that's why. She hurts people with a dragon-head-shaped gauntlet and creates firestorms and ... Also, she turns into a dragon™ : that's enough aggressivity for one person I think, should give her something to make her scales more shiny and sturdy now :D so she stays alive, 'cause pretty girls like that shouldn't die :'(
What do we get, then ? Let's see :
Summoner's Resolve : obviously if you know for sure you won't take Cleanse, don't take that. But adding 2 points of M.R. instead won't change your life ... And on the other hand, chances that you may have to take Garrison are quite high ...
Hardiness : most of your enemies will be AD, and it's a little extra that won't have much impact later on, but can come in handy for the first fights, especially the lvl3-4 fight for top. You could take Resistance instead, but 2 of your first items will give you Magic Resist, so ... meh.
Durability : oh how I love this new mastery ... Like 6 free Greater Seals of Vitality, on tier 2 ... take it. We all love our women healthy.
Indomitable : -2 damage ain't much, but it stacks well with the rest of the tree and your runes and stuff (and the rest wouldn't help much more).
Veteran's Scars : never noticed Katarina had such furry brows ... anyway, moar health is moar gud, or something like that. So take it.
Evasion : what a nice mastery we got there ! Since AoE-spells will be flying all around you all the time, I think this will come in handy quite often, and since it's percentage-based, it will scale along your enemy's power, which is always cool.
Initiator : what an ironic name, since I always repeat how her lack of an initiation saddens me ! But the extra movement speed helps travelling on the map faster, and since time is of the essence, I really like it.
Honor Guard : even more damage reduction ? Even more percentage-based stuff ? Yes please :D
Juggernaut : awesome ****. I mean really. That name is so kewl ... And the mastery in itself too ! Even more health, to compliment Durability and Veteran's Scars, AND that Frozen Mallet you'll be taking fairly soon. And C.C. reduction to give more pep to your boots and Cleanse ... Yeah, that's definitely one of my favorite new masteries ! Love it !
Summoner's Wrath : obvious choice is obvious : since I recommend Exhaust/Ghost, might as well improve both, aye ?
Brute Force : oooh yeah, +3 AD, that's brutality for ya ! But seriously, were you going to take AP for a champ that scales so poorly with it ? And +3 to everyone > +4 to minions.
Sorcry : CDR is always good on everyone. Not "awesome" on Shyvana but necesssary for ...
Arcane Knowledge : ... this Bad Boy ! Burnout = magic, Flame Breath = magic, Dragon's Descent = magic, Wit's End = magic, Kitae's Bloodrazor = magic ... got it ? Get it !
Nota Bene : I have to admit I shamelessly copied Saintvicious' Jungle Fizz masteries I saw on his stream. His build was 75% identical to what I was recommending, and he later explained why he was taking Arcane Knowledge and wasn't going any further down the Offense Tree, and it felt so obvious ! Of course, Shyvana =/= Jungler and =/= Fizz, but Fizz has great initiation, and his Trickster thingy for survival, so I still take the 21 in Defense to compensate what Shyvana is lacking.
Aaaaah yes, the oh-so-important runes. I don't think there are that many alternatives to her build, but for the sake of thoroughness, I'll try and give different options, 'cuz I'm that nice.
Reds/Glyphs :Alacrity. No way around this one. She wants attack speed, and she wants lots of it. How good that the glyphs are the runes that give the most A.S. of all, aye ? Take these, and go kill stuff.
Yellows/Seals : there's only 3 really viable choices here, in my humble opinion :Resilience,Defense, andDodge.
That's right, we'll be building physical harm-reduction here. You're melee, and as such, you'll get slapped in da face more often than not, so you might as well try and make it less painful, aye ? So, which one should you take ?
Of the 3, my favorites are, without a doubt, the Armor per level seals. Why these over the flat ones ? Well, you start at level 3, get to level 4 in a matter of seconds, and they overcome the flat armor seals by level 9, which you reach fairly quickly as well. Meaning that you start "almost" as good as if going with the flat ones, and quickly get twice the bonus.
Sure, you may argue that flat Armor seals make you tougher for the fight for the top point. Yeah, no, not really : that fight is utter chaos. Sometimes, no one gets focused, so it doesn't make a difference, sometimes, both teams focus one enemy champion, and if that is you VS 4 angry and drunk goons looking to score and, sadly for you, noticing that you are way cuter than many think, you'll get gang-raped, and 2 or 3 more Armor won't preserve the integrity of your butt. Sorry. Get used to it, it only hurts the first time.
On the other hand, Dodge runes are quite tempting, and I actually started my Shyvana career with these. Why ? Well, you'll be facing a LOT of AD champs, and dodging that 3500-damage-auto-attack of the fed enemy Graves (not a critical strike, mind you. What's that ? Yes, yes indeed, I hate him.) will be a moment of pure bliss. Sadly, let's face the facts. Most AD champs won't be auto-attack champs, and if the situation I just mentionned happens, you'll just have time to wet your chair for surviving, before realizing that he shoots 526 bullets a second, and that you may have dodged the first one, you may even dodge the second and third ones (man, play the lottery or something), but you WILL die, in the end.
So sure, you may run Dodge yellows, and in some situations it might even be a great choice. It's just not my favorite combo.
Blues/Glyphs : once again, several choices :Focus,Celerity,Warding,Shielding,Alacrity.
Why choose cooldown reduction ? Well, shorter cooldowns = more spammability (is that even a real word ?). Spamming your Twin Bite makes you kill stuff faster, spamming Burnout makes you kill stuff even faster and/or reach capture points/teamfights faster. Cool. Thing is, you attack like a madwoman on crack, meaning your passive will make you spam Twin Bite anyway, and will make your Burnout last so long that you can almost recast it as soon as it wears off. So the only real use would be for map movement with burnout. A little bit of a waste, I think.
Well then, if you still want to take these, which one should you choose ? Flat or per level ? Well, since we (probably) won't be building any more CDR on her, might as well take the per level ones, to get a bit more out of them.
Second choice would be Attack Speed, and many people recommend these. Sure, why not. Still, you'll have insane attack speed without them, and I feel like it would be somewhat overkill, considering that there is a last alternative.
What's the alternative you ask ? Well my good sir, the alternative is, in fact, my favorite option : magic resist. Why's that ? You won't be facing that much AP, most of the time not very bursty ones, meaning that sometimes (not often, fair enough), +24 M.R. is all the Magic Resistance you'll ever need. And should it not be enough, there's an item giving you M.R. in your core build :D. No worries about pesky magic-wielders, ever. I like that, don't you ?
Same question : flat or increasing ? Short answer : per level. Long answer : check the Armor Seals.
Quintessences :Alacrity. Remember when I said that glyphs are the runes that give the most A.S. of all ? I lied. Take quints, they're even better. Take both, and the speed of those pretty little fists of doom will be INSANE :D I like crazy chicks ...
Skill Explanation and Skill Sequence
Let's take a look at Shyvana's skill set, and see what you should expect of her.
First things first, her passive :Fury of the Dragonborn. How cool is that name ? Wow. Anyway. This passive screams "build me as an Attack Speed champion !". And that's exactly what we're gonna do.
Every auto-attack you make affects all your abilities at once.
_Each hit reduces Twin Bite's cooldown, meaning you'll end up spamming this borderline OP skill.
_While Burnout is active, it prolongs the duration, long enough to clear entire creep waves in a matter of seconds or to make your enemies all roasted and crispy. Add some barbecue sauce and you're set for the night.
_And when attacking an enemy affected by Flame Breath, you deal 20% of Flame Breath's damage with every hit. Flame Breath only lasts 4 seconds, and 20% means something like +30~50 magic damage/hit, but with an attack speed of, say, 1,5, that's 240 bonus damage over 4 seconds. Nothing mind-boggling, but I wouldn't say no if someone offered me the option, and since someone does, I'll take it, thanks.
_And of course, it allows you to recharge/maintain your dragon form faster/longer. Pretty obvious usefulness here.
Twin Bite : it makes you strike twice in one hit, adding bonus physical damage to the second hit. Additionnaly, it resets your attack timer, meaning that you can auto-attack someone, then use Twin Bite to instantly strike again, resulting in 3 hits in an instant.
The other benefit of this skill is it applies on-hit effects. That's why we'll be building the items we'll be building. Just take a moment and think about it.
On a target with 2000 HP, 2,5% of their max HP is 50. (let's pretend it's an ideal world and your target has no resistance or armor ; I know (s)he will have, but you have penetration to compensate, so just eat an orange and be ok with it or something).
If you're hitting a target affected by Flame Breath (check the passive), you'll be dealing +42*3 (Wit's End) +50*3 (Kitae) + 40*3 (Flame Breath) = ~400 bonus damage, in addition to your regular damage (also dealt 3 times), and Twin Bite's bonus damage, within one second. I like that skill, I really do.
Of course, you'll never deal that much damage, don't fool yourself. But you'll still be dealing great damage with this skill, and that's all that matters.
Twin Bite (Dragon Form) : turns into a "cleave" effect, meaning you'll deal all this awesome-sauce damage not only to your target, but to every nearby enemy in front of you. Useful, but nothing too fancy. It helps clear a whole creep wave in literally ONE strike after a teamfight to push the next capture point in a matter of seconds, quite useful.
Burnout : helps show everyone how "hot" you are. So hot, in fact, that you'll be burning everything around you. The AoE damage per second of this skill is, in my opinion, really good. The AD ratio isn't that great, especially since we won't be building much AD anyway, and the fact that it's converted into magic damage sucks since you won't benefit from any Armor Penetration, and you'll only get the benefit of the lesser part of the Cristal Scar Aura. Sad, but as I already said, if it was 100% AD/Physical, it would be OP. We don't want OP, Riot nerfs OP. Sometimes ...
It also speeds Shyvana up for a short duration, which makes it invaluable on Dominion. You'll cross the map in the blink of an eye, making you (somewhat) unpredictable, and quite reliable for your allies in need of help.
Burnout (Dragon Form) : as long as Burnout remains active, you'll be leaving a lasting trail of fire behind you when moving around, à-la-Corki's Valkyrie. You'll rarely ever get a kill with this, but it helps lowering your enemies' health a bit faster, and they'll lose health while chasing you, meaning that, should an ally come to your rescue, (s)he will have an easier time killing your pursuer(s). Useful, nothing too great though.
Flame Breath : shoots a fireball-like skill-shot in a line, damaging and debuffing the first thing it hits. The damage is pathetic, being 100% AP with a so-so ratio and all. The debuff (15% Armor shred on your target) is great, don't forget to open up the fight with it and to refresh it !
Flame Breath (Dragon Form) : your single-target linear skill-shot becomes an AoE cone-shaped skill-shot. Much easier to land, can affect multiple targets (an entier team in an ideal world), be it only to clear minion waves faster for pushing purposes. Quite stylish.
Dragon's Descent : Shyvana®. Wouldn't be much of a half-dragon without her dragon form, right ?
It passively grants you Armor and Magic Resist (+25 at level 3), which is already great as it is ! But of cours, it's the activation that's entertaining :D
To activate it, you need to have a full fury bar. Fury charges at a rate of 1% every one~two seconds, and 2% everytime you land an auto-attack. Note that your fury doesn't reset upon death. It was my main source of apprehension when following the sneak-peaks before her release, since you die quite often in Dominion, and it would make it almost impossible to shapeshift. Well, it's not an issue. Cool. Note that upon learning the skill the first time, you instantly get a full Fury bar (your bar is stuck at 0% before that), meaning that you can turn a teamfight if you learn it and use it in the heat of a battle.
Upon activation, you jump in the direction you want, turning into a huge dragon-shaped fireball, dealing damage and (barely) knocking back everything in your path. This has several uses : jump over a wall to gank/block the path of an enemy, reach a point faster to stop the enemies from capturing it (all at once, very useful !), or even to flee ! Since you won't run Flash, it's kind of a "get-out-of-jail" card for when you realize that the whole team wants some dragon *** for the night. Don't be afraid to use it to that end : it'll be back up soon enough.
After that, you double your passive Armor/Magic Res. bonus, and all your skills unlock their full potential, and you'll be consuming fury every second. Auto-attacks still generate fury, meaning that as long as you keep fighting, you'll extend the duration of your transformation, but you can't attack fast enough to keep it up forever.
Start the game with 1 point in each skill.
Twin bite will help you deal more damage in your first fight, be it top or bot.
Burnout will help you reach your first capture point, as well as your first teamfight, faster, and it actually deals Tons of Damage™.
And Flame Breath has several uses :
_It's a ranged attack, your only real way of holding bot if your stupid team decided to send you there because everyone wants to be one of the cool guys taking top, or no one thought about taking a ranged champ (brilliant ! Let's all go melee and see what the enemy Amumu thinks about it, shall we ? :D).
_It's a ranged attack, so if you take part in the fight for top, you can poke the enemies with it. Sure, the CD and Damage aren't that great, but it's better than nothing.
_And when **** finally gets starting and everyone's trying to butt-rape you, and your friends are trying to save you and whatnot, 15% Armor Reduction on an enemy champ', in a game where most of your allies will probably be AD, is not something to discard !
After that, the skill sequence is actually quite obvious.
Max Burnout first. More damage, more speed, more greatness. You'll be using it all the time, for movement, for fights, for good looks, just upgrade it first and thank me later.
Second comes Twin Bite. Upgrading Twin Bite only affects the ability's cooldown, reducing it for a somewhat pathetic 1 second per point. Still, it's your main "burst" (haha, "burst", I'm so funny sometimes ... Burst on Shyvana ...) skill, and using it faster is never a bad thing, even when already reducing the cooldown with your auto-attacks.
Max Flame Breath last. This skill's main benefif is the armor-shredding effect, which doesn't get better past level 1. The damage is quite pathetic at any level, and the cooldown is still very long even when maxed, so don't waste points in it too soon.
And, of course, put points in Dragon's Descent whenever you get the chance. The passive part is great, making you harder to kill, which is always a good thing, or so I've heard. The active part is your main initiating, diving, and teamfighting skill, and just take a moment to imagine a guy walking down the lane and suddenly "OH MY ****ING GOD THERE'S A GIANT DRAGON MADE OF FIRE FLYING DOWN ON ME FROM BEHIND THAT WALL !!!!!". Scary. I like that. Plus, it's the skill that makes Shyvana, Shyvana. So not putting points in it would be like playing Akali and not taking her Shadow Dance. That's just crazy talk, get out of here before I slap you in the face.
Aaaah, the items ! If you skipped the rest to get here, you make me sad 'cause I put my heart and soul into each and every single section of this guide ! Read them ! READ THEM ALL !!
Anyway, I'm getting carried away. What do I recommend, and why ?
Depending on where you're going, start with aPhage (Bot/Top) or Boots + Ruby Cristal + Long Sword (Mid). Phage will help you survive (remember, the whole "rape" story ? Well Phage ins't a hammer for nothing : bust that Udyr's hairy nuts !), and give you a C.C. (wow, that's like, best Christmas present Shyvana ever got ! 25% proc. chance isn't awesome, but 25%>0%, if I remember my math classes well), while boots will help you join your team for the teamfight faster after taking mid.
After that, easy enough, finish Phage/buy boots, and finish your boots. Several choices here, actually.
_Most people take Berserker's Greaves, can't blame them. But we would end up selling them later to take better ones, and I don't like to waste money or throw nice shoes away.
_Merc Threads, the obvious melee choice, my favorite. She is VERY vulnerable to C.C., so a little Tenacity won't hurt her.
_Tabi : if you face a team with 4 or 5 AD Champs, but then again, just stack armor and laugh at their feeble minds while crushing them under your talons.
_Lucidity : don't. Thing is, check my argument about CDR glyphs. You don't really need CDR for your first 2 skills, the 3rd one doesn't have to be spammed, and your ult. doesn't benefit from CDR at all. Just don't.
_Movement Speed : / both are fine I guess. If you're just crushing the enemy team and don't need any defense, and Zerk would be overkill on A.S., take Mobility and troll them after every attempt of taking back a capture point.
After that, we want to build a Wit's End/ Kitae and finish the Frozen Mallet ASAP. The exact order is up to you and the game you're in. Kitae will SIGNIFICANTLY improve your offensive potential, while the Mallet helps you on the defensive side, and Wit's End is between the two. So : crushing = Kitae, crushed = Mallet, unclear = Wit's. I usually build Wit's End first, then finish the Mallet.
I know some of you will scream and cry and moan and pull at their hair because I run Mallet instead of Triforce and/or without Atma's Impaler. Here's the thing : I want the C.C. Frozen Mallet is the only 100% reliable C.C. item for Shyvana, and the big chunk of health is just icing on the cake. Atma's would be a waste, the AD bonus wouldn't be THAT good, the armor would be overkill, and the critical chance a bit of a waste. I'll talk about Triforce (and Rylai, yes, I know) later.
After that, I usually build a defensive item (in addition to the Frozen Mallet), most of the time a Chain Vest. If there are more than 2 AP champs on the enemy team and they are wreaking havoc on the battlefield, consider a Negatron Cloak, but most of the time, her ult's passive + your glyphs + your masteries + mercs + wit's end is more than enough Magic Res. for her.
Now, analyse the situation once again. Are you getting focused ? What kind of champs are you facing ? Who is dominating ?
If you feel the need for more defense, finish your started item. I feel there are only two good Armor items for Dominion : Thornmail / Randuin's Omen.
Thornmail is GREAT when facing 2 or more auto-attack champs. You'll be that much harder to kill, and they'll literally suicide on your scales while trying to put their dirty paws on your sexy body.
Randuin is a more common choice (starting with the Warden's Mail), less armor but bonus health, some cooldown reduction, a slow proc that ruins every AD champion's day, and an AoE slow activate that turns the tide of battles. I love it.
Should you really face an AP-heavy team and need to do something about it : Force of Nature / Odyn's Veil
Force of Nature is the usual M.R. item on melee champs, for good reasons : lots of M.R., move speed, and a good health regen, what's not to like ?
Odyn's Veil is also pretty cool though : trades the (good but not so useful) health regen for max.health, a good chunk of M.R. + a 10% magic damage reduction (that's pretty amazing VS bursty mages), and a useful activate. I'd recommend the Veil.
When you feel safe enough to add additional power to your fists, build the item you didn't make earlier, A.K.A Kitae/ Wit's End. (Notice the similarities between Kitae's shape and your gauntlet ? That's a sign ...)
Right now, you have 5 items : a pair of Boots, a Defensive item, a Utility item, and 2 Attack items. Games will rarely go this far, and even less frequently farther. Should you be in one of these games, there is a number of possibilites for your last item, you'll have to assess (that's not an insult) the situation your team is in.
Atma's Impaler : well sure, by now you have way over 3k HP, I guess buying Atma is a safe bet. Why not ? And since Warmog's isn't available in Dominion, you'd be as tanky as anyone could be. Cool.
Black Cleaver : I like that item on Shyvana, you reach a super-human-attack speed, and with the triple-hit of Twin Bite, you apply the 3 charges of Armor shred in one second, that's really nasty.
Hextech Gunblade : a nice choice, really. The AD is a bit "meh" right now, but the AP, life-steal combined with your A.S. and spell-vamp with Burnout are great, and the active is ... wait for it ... a C.C. ! How cool is that ?! I'm considering putting it in the core build, but I just don't know what I could replace ... Any advice is more than welcome !
Infinity Edge : for a bit of final "oomph", never a bad choice is it ? I mean, even an AD Lux or Janna with I.E. is scary, so imagine that little baby in Shyvana's paws ...
Ionic Spark : cool addition to the whole A.S./effect proc' build, and a bit of H.P to boot, strong choice.
Malady : cool addition to the whole A.S./effect proc' build, the AP is a bit wasted if you don't build more, but the M.R. Shred, on the other hand, helps you dish out more damage with skills AND items, and if you have some AP in your team ... Probably one of the strongest choices, on par with the Black Cleaver.
Sanguine Blade : oomph + life-steal, like this one, like it a lot, no trouble getting and keeping the stacks with your A.S. Strong choice.
Stark's Fervor : good on any team, but I don't like to take it. Just a matter of personnal taste, if you like it, go for it, it's got everything she needs ! And your team will love you (although they'd never tell it to your face, mind you)
Sword of the Divine : cool addition to the whole A.S./effect proc' build, and can counter that pesky Jax bastard, should you face one.
The Lightbringer : very situational. But if you face an Akali and/or a Shaco and/or Eve (if it is "and", you're ****ed, by the way), you need one in your team. Take it. Take it as your 3rd item, if you must, just take it and kill the bastards good.
Notes : DON'T buyhealth pots. Never, ever, buy this ****. It's useless ! If you're at half-hp and survive, it means you're in a better shape than your enemy and can heal off health packs. If you're almost dead, recall, heal up, buy something shiny and get back into the fray. If you're dead, suck it up, and prepare for sweet retaliation. But you'll almost never have time to fully heal from a health pot or two before getting jumped/jumping on someone again.
About Trinity Force : I think there are better choices. So much is wasted on this item, it's a shame for the price. If I really wanted an expensive item, I'd go for the Gunblade. Mana, almost inexistant AP gain, slow redundant with the Mallet ... Sure the proc' is awesome, but it doesn't apply to both hits of Twin Bite, so ... meh.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter : yes, I have heard rumors about taking a Rylai's. Life, great, slow on Burnout and the Burnout trail, pretty nice. But ... the AP is "good", but won't do you much good, there's less HP than on the Mallet, and Burnout is AoE, so the slow effect will be cut ... I'd take Frozen Mallet over Rylai's any day.
Team Work & Team Composition
Aaaaah, now that's the tricky part, 'cause Dominion can be quite chaotic, and people think they know it all. So, first things first.
It's a TEAM game : be the bigger man. Please : don't flame, don't rage, don't think you're boss. And if someone does, ignore him. /ignore him if necessary. One person can ruin the game of his/her team. Don't be that person. 4 people and an imbecile can win. 3 people, an imbecile, and someone reacting to him and getting mad can't. You can chat and stuff when you're at the fountain or dead, or steam-rolling the enemy. Throw in a joke the lighten the mood, from time to time, if you have a good vibe with your team. But it distracts while in the actual game, especially if it's negative chat. Try and don't, make the game a better place :) Always remember : "there is no "I" in "T.E.A.M"".
And a friendly reminder to all players who still don't get it. KILL-STEALING DOESN'T EXIST ! You are a TEAM, for ****'s sake. So what, you solo-ed that Annie, and at the last second Akali comes in and jump-kills her. You know what just happened ? Instead of gaining 100 gold for yourself, you earned 50, she earned 100. That's 150 for the team. 150 > 100. Nobody gives a **** about the final score of each individual player. What's important is if you have "victory" on your screen.
Alright, moving on :D What are you giving to your team being a half-dragon and stuff ? Essentially, damage. You're a 1v1 beast, 2v1 is a guaranteed kill. Try and don't waste your ultimate for 1v1, as it brings nothing to the table to give you more power in a duel.
Always fire you Flame Breath in the enemy team. Catching the weakest link ? Great ! Catching Rammus ? Don't panic ! At least you got something ! And 15% off a tank's armor isn't half bad I'd say. Just don't forget using it.
Don't try moving around to set the carpet on fire, you're not Singed. You won't be able to do that for a very long time, it's a waste of your ult, you want to keep attacking to keep your dragon form active as long as possible, to damage as many enemies as possible with your skills.
To achieve this, you need to be in the thick of battle. Which is not so good for your health. Which brings us to the next chapter : when should you play her ?
Your team : Akali, Heimerdinger, Olaf, Irelia. Awesome team. Don't take Shyvana. Why ? You have 2 unreliable stuns, 2 unreliable slow, and ONE efficient slow, nothing more. What'll happen ? You jump in there, they turn around, chop your head off, and move on with their life.
Your team 2 : Morgana, Xin Zhao, Lux, Udyr. Play her ! Don't hesitate ! 1 knock-up, 2 cages, 1 multi-stun, 1 perma-stun, 2 slows, it's C.C.-land, and you get 2 shields as a bonus : you can move around freely and do what you do best : kill stuff.
Getting my drift yet ? She needs a team with a decent amount of C.C. to get the job done, otherwise she'll get crushed. 1~2 stuns, 1~2 slows, should do the trick. If you have the luxury of having a Kayle/Lux/Morgana/Orianna to (maybe) shield you, great stuff !
Remember your incredible movement speed. 2 champions defending bot, 3 attacking top, if you think your team-mates or good/fed enough to hold the line, rush for mid and cap it ! Either you get the point, or the enemy team has to split to stop you. Sometimes 1 will leave top, making it a fair fight, sometimes 1 will leave bot, and you should get that tower, sometimes both. Whatever the outcome, it's in your favor.
You don't have to play hero ! Just as the song goes, "see a giant circle ? Pantheon's jumpin' in !". LEAVE ! You split the enemy team, Pantheon left whatever the hell he was doing to stop you, meaning he will be missed elsewhere : Mission Success. See that Rammus power-balling towards you from top while you're retaking your mid ? You know you won't make it in time : cap it 'till the point is contested, and leave, while Rammus left his point undefended for your (hopefully) smart allies ! A contested point is sometimes just as good as a capped point : 2:2 > 2:3, not gaining Nexus points is better than losing them.
Ping. Some players know how focus works, some don't, some do but get berserk once they start fighting, ping the targets. If there are multiple pings, follow the last one. If you hear and see the retreat ping, do it. Your teammates are selfish by nature, so if they make the effort of trying to save your hide by warning you, it means something big is coming your way. Trust them, they'll trust you in return.
You're not the ideal candidate for the Storm Shield. The health bubble is nice, the ability damage increase, not so much for you. Try to keep it for a bursty melee character like Akali or Riven, for instance.
Summing up, ey ? Hard thing for me ... :p
Let's just say, Shyvana is good. She's not "great", she's "good". You have to rely on your team, which can be hard, more often then not, and are heavily dependent on their champions. But you can be very annoying for the enemy team, she gets really threatening once she gets her second damage item, and is quite unique in her playstyle.
And no, I know, not everyone is an idiot ^^ There are many skilled players, most of them far better than me. I'm just trying to make a point here : don't take the game too seriously ! We all make mistakes, why always blame others for everything, and point the finger at every little thing not going our way ? Just take it easy ^^
Thanks to everyone reading this, if you read everything, you can tap yourself on the shoulder, bake yourself a cake or eat a cookie or something : I'm proud of you :')
Don't forget to leave comments, I'm more than willing to admit mistakes and test better builds to improve the guide and my own playstyle !
To finish this, a little something to all L.M.F.A.O fans, 'cause you've got the biggest fan of all before you. No, not me, Shyvana herself !
17 Nov. '11 : New Masteries and Summoner Spells released in the last patch
-> updated the guide more or less everywhere, major changes to Masteries (overhaul), Items (removed Priscilla's Blessing, changed my mind on some items), Summoner Spells