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Shen Build Guide by Split King

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Split King: Solo Queue Shen

By Split King | Updated on January 14, 2020
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Runes:

Resolve
Grasp of the Undying
Demolish
Conditioning
Revitalize

Domination
Ghost Poro
Ultimate Hunter

Spells:

LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport

Teleport

LeagueSpy Logo
Top Lane
Ranked #22 in
Top Lane
Win 53%
Get More Stats

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies

Introduction and Video Guide

WHO is the Split King?
Watch my Channel Teaser to get the idea.

But more importantly, here is the Video Guide:
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Season 8 Update

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Runes

Season 8 is here and the runes have changed with it!

Resolve should be Shens main rune tree at all times

Grasp of the Undying
This is the keystone I pick on top lane most of the time. It is like it was in season 7 but now it also gives you permanent health that can scale indefinitely, sweet. Against standard melee top laners that aren't too hard to deal with Grasp of the undying is ideal. When deciding if you should take Grasp of the Undying, look at the laner you will be facing. If you think you can walk up to him and auto attack him from time to time without too much of a risk involved Grasp of the Undying is your rune!

Aftershock
Aftershock is great man! Unlike the old Courage of the Colossus this rune actually works wonders even in 1v1. The only question is, When is Aftershock better than Grasp of the Undying? In tough matchups or matchups where your opponent is ranged and good at staying away from you, you should pick Aftershock. Aftershock is more defensive than Grasp of the Undying and it is also more burst oriented. Grasp excels in long fights where Aftershock excels in short engagements.

Guardian
This is easy. Are you support? if No, don't take Guardian, if Yes, take Guardian. Boom you are welcome. Guardian has INSANE synergy with Shen's ultimate. This rune might actually make Shen viable as a support. More so than usual anyway.

Demolish
90% of the time Demolish is the best rune you can take in this tier. It seems like it was made for Shen. Shen is a tanky Split pusher with NO way of dealing extra damage to turrets. Demolish scales off health and helps Shen be devastating even for turrets ;-)
Only take Font of Life if you are support, and only take Bone Plating against laners that are hard to survive against (such as Darius) But even in those cases, Demolish is still a solid pick.

Conditioning
I take this vs laners that don't pose a threat in the early game. This allows me to scale better which is needed for the late game split push. Only take Second Wind if your opponent is a blowgun wielding hamster (it is good against poke champions like Satan) Bone Plating is OK but I rarely use it. None of these 3 runes are bad picks, So it comes down to adapting to the enemy pick or simply going for either early or late game power

Revitalize
Revitalize is INSANE on Shen. It helps his passive greatly but more importantly, it boosts the effectiveness of his ultimate! Revitalize is strongest when people are below 40% health, Shens ultimate is also strongest on targets below 40% health. SYNERGY!
Never take Overgrowth (even in the super late game Revitalize is stronger)

Secondary Tree: Domination
Domination is a split push friendly tree and the Ultimate Hunter rune is very strong.

Ghost Poro
This rune provides a much safer split push. Vision is key here lads. This is especially true for Shen as he is less about taking people out 1v1 and more about joining his team in clutch moments. With this, you can be sure to not be ********ed by the enemy team.

Ultimate Hunter
Shen's ultimate has a very long and unforgiving cooldown. This rune helps greatly in that regard. It is also somewhat easy to stack as you often get kills/assists while using ultimate anyway.
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Why play Shen?

I have said it before and I will say it again. The best reason to play Shen is to improve on the game overall.

After I mastered Shen I was able to jump several ranked divisions on all of my champions, despite the fact that I was quite highly ranked to begin with.

I have HOWEVER also tried to click on a low health ally to press R, despite not even playing Shen. It becomes a habit. If you play Shen a lot it is ideal to play Soraka while support, as their ultimates works in similar ways. It is the same kind of awareness they need to be successful. I would do the same if it was not for the fact that I have 80% win rate on my Janna.:-)
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Math!

As shown in the video guide Shen works a bit differently than other tanks. If he double his effective health, he becomes far more than twice as tanky.

The Riven example:

Riven has a dps of 100.
My passive can shield 100 every 2 seconds.

This means that riven deals 50 dmg to my actualy health per second.
If I then backed and got twice the effective health either through armor or simply buying health, my passive would also gain double effectiveness. (Passive only scales from bonus health so it actually gains more than twice the effectiveness in most cases, but let us keep it simple)

When I return to lane Riven will no longer be able to deal damage to me because my shield takes all the damage. SO having double the effective health does not mean that I can take twice the damage, but that I can take infinite damage, because Riven will never deal more damage than my shield can take.

A tiny CS lead or kill lead compared to your opponent means A LOT in terms of punishment you are able to take. In other words, if you make sure not to die once to Riven, and still keep up in farm, it won't take long till the Riven will become obsolete against you.

My scaling runes help me get ahead even if I don't get kills or more CS than my enemy.

If you have any questions about the math or anything else for that matter feel free to drop a comment on this site or on my youtube channel.
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Playstyle.

My playstyle is mostly covered in the Video Guide so this will just be a quick summary.

Early Game:

Make a plan, AND STICK TO IT.
You need to know your matchup and play accordingly. You will either be the aggressor and use your taunt to engage in order to zone your opponent or get kills.
OR you will be on the defense and simply farm as much as you can. In this case, you will save your taunt for disengage. You need to know when to switch between being offensive and defensive.

Vs a Vladimir you will be offensive from the start to try and take him out, but if you do not succeed you will have to switch to defensive later on as Vladimir will heal more than you deal damage.

Vs a Renekton you will be defensive from the start. Then as the game goes on you will try to trade from time to time to test your strength compared to his. When the time is right you go on the offense to turn this crocodile into a fancy handbag.

Some matchups like Darius are simple because you will always use the defensive strategy unless he makes a mistake at some point.


Mid Game:

Your Mid Game starts once you get ultimate. It is playmaking time!. Look for opportunities to turn the tide around the map. But be careful as Shen's ultimate has a very long cooldown.

When your ultimate is on cooldown, you should either farm your own lane and try to take the tower, or stay near your own team to take objectives together.

Do not rely heavily on Split push if your ultimate and teleport are on cooldown. It is better to stick to your team and wait for your cooldowns to be back up.


Late Game:

Split Push for days.

Zz'Roth and Trinity Force are your turret destroyers. Sunfire or Titanic Hydra are your wave clear. If you are so behind that you don't have the items necessary to split push successfully, then you are better off sticking to your team.

If the enemy team sends someone to stop you, you should keep an eye on the minimap to be able to join your team so you can 5v4 the enemy team. BUT in most cases, I am ignored. No one ever comes to stop me. Instead, they go 5v4 on my team. In this case, I use attack move (bound to the A key by default) to push the lane I am in, and then I keep my screen on my team so I can be their guardian Ninja.

I often have 40% cooldown reduction and rank 3 ultimate at this point. So my ultimate will be up all the time.
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Low elo.

I would not recommend using Shen to gain elo if you are below Gold.

Shen is essentially a very tanky split pushing support. But a support nevertheless. Supports are rarely good for climbing the ladder. Shen's ultimate is FAR better if you throw it on someone with good knowledge of the game.

Honestly It seems like my winrate on Shen only gets better the higher rank I am in.

See the "Other Split King Guides" chapter at the end of this guide for other suggestions if you are currently in low elo.
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Preason Season 9

The only interesting change is the Shield Bash Rune.
You can now pick Shield Bash over Demolish if you want to be more agressive in lane. I prefer Demolish simply because I focus so much on macro play and objectives.

Ultimate Hunter was also buffed which is a huge bonus for Shen. But it does not change the way you play him, it just makes him stronger
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Support Me

If you like my guides or want to support me for some other reason please take the time to subscribe to my Youtube channel, follow me on Twitch or become one of my patrons. Even a little support goes a long way and it will help me make better guides that are always up to date. Thank you!

Links:
Youtube Channel

Twitch Channel

Patreon Page
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Other Split King Guides

Link: Solo Queue Shen
Shen: A tanky split pusher with a supportive Kit. This guide can teach you a lot about split pushing and map awareness even if you don't want to play Shen.
Viable Elo: Mid to High.
Shen is a weird champion since he actually gets stronger the higher rank you are. Throwing a well-timed Shen R on a Diamond ADC does a lot more than throwing it on a Silver ADC. I do not recommend playing Shen Below Gold.

Link: World Famous Shyvana
Shyvana: A tanky Split pusher with very high sustained damage. I am disgustingly good at this champion. learning to play Shyvana does not take long. You can become fairly adept at Shyvana even with limited time on your hands if you follow this guide.
Viable Elo: Any
Shyvana is a very stable Champion. She is viable in almost all patches and all ranks

Link: Control Mage Teemo
Satan: A squishy Satanic Hamster that can control the battlefield with his shrooms. The map control is amazing. You can use it for vision resulting in a safe split push, or you can use it to place a heavy line of defense that makes it very hard for the enemy team to finish. A full build Teemo is also very scary. If you have sold your soul to the devil this guide is for you.
Viable Elo: Low to Semi-High
I can only play Teemo effectively up to about Diamond 3. Most players above that Rank knows too well how to abuse his weakness. I will however highly recommend using Teemo for climbing if you are below Diamond. You can climb fast and reliably with Teemo because he does not rely much on his team. Be a one-man army.

Link: THE Rek'sai Guide
Rek'sai: A void monster that burrows underground to stalk her prey. I got to Grandmaster with this champion and it's possible that I am even better on Rek'sai than on Shyvana. Rek'sai is extremely fun to play once you master her but it does take some time since she essentially has 7 abilities instead of the standard 4. You should use this guide if your main concern is to get as high rank as possible.
Viable Elo: Medium to VERY High.
You could still use Rek'sai in low elo with great success if you become good at her, but since she is harder than most champions to learn I would advise against this. When I play ranked on a new account I rarely start out by playing Rek'sai as there are other champions that can carry better with enough kills. You can however reach any elo with enough skill because Rek'sai is so extremely strong right now.