Shen Build Guide
Shen - Master of tankingwritten by nightfangm
Table of Contents
|Masteries and Runes||5|
|Working in the Team||10|
Ki Strike Ki Strike adds a bit of burst damage to our ninja tank and is very useful for last hitting/harassing, but isn't very noticeable. Vorpal Blade Great for jungling. Great for healing your lane mate. Great for harassing. Not great damage. Feint Amazing skill when used correctly. Feint allows you to charge back into combat after getting down to 100 HP and come out with an ally getting a double kill and you being happily alive at 100 HP. Shadow Dash Another amazing skill. It can be used to initiate, save allies, close distance to harass or towerdive, or just to get back to your lane faster. Stand United Great skill. But it is not offensive. Use Stand United only as a last resort. Save an ally at 100 HP from across the map, or if you're about to die and there's nothing you can do about it, just pop the shield on your carry and you're still tanking after death.
I decided to write this guide just cause I didn't agree with a lot of what the most updated guide suggested. I've played quite a few games as Shen and he was my main for a short while, but I am still not done learning everything about how to use him. I play almost exclusively normal games so maybe strats in here won't work as well in ranked because of the strange gameplay differences. I have played 15 ranked games with Shen and went 9/6 in solo queue with a KDA of 3.3/5.1/15.5 at about 1400 ELO so maybe I'm just full of myself thinking I'm qualified to write a guide for him. =P
I'm gonna have two parts in each section of the guide: jungling and laning. Jungle Shen works surprisingly well. I haven't been able to quite keep up with the solo lanes in XP but I can usually outpace the double lanes. One of the three downsides to jungling is that you get less money, and Shen loves money. He has pretty low base HP for a tank which makes it hard for him to tank quite as well from the jungle as from the lane. The second downside is that you have to bring smite to jungle quickly, which costs a valuable summoner skill. The final downside is that, in a lane, you can deny XP effectively or babysit a champion like Tryndamere. Though against some lane combos just surviving and last hitting is all you can hope to do. However, if your team needs a jungler it's probably a good idea to do so.
Hope this helps people. XD
I'm very happy to be playing a lot of ranked games now because I get to see people play to their greatest capability (which for some reason still feels like a lot worse than the people I get teamed with/against do in Normal games =P). Anyways, I'm seeing some good Shens out there and am going to be modifying the guide based on some of the legit shit I see them pull off. Also I'm adding an updates section because I am going to be updating the particulars of the guide more now instead of just fixing typos and errors.
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT! I really want to make this guide better and to do that I need input. Frankly there is nothing more saddening than getting a downvote and never knowing why. If you don't want me to reply to the comment just say so and I won't. So again, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT!
Just fixed a [item_text=Rylai's Scepter] to Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
Changed Heart of Gold to indicate that it is no longer a good anti Physical. Added in Spirit Visage.
Not many changes I care about again. I like the QSS buff as it was already one of my favorite items.
Changed the Greater Seal of Meditations to Greater Seal of Luciditys.
Not many changes I care about. I still think Doran's Shield is the best start.
Pre Patch 109:
Changed some items. Added in a General section. Updated Jungling video and section. Added a link to stonewall008's jungle Shen. More varied experiences as Shen have made me realize I need to clarify a few things and add an item. Mentioned that you shouldn't get multiple Sunfire Capes anymore. Added more about Magic Pen/Armor Pen runes. Clarified Warmog's Armor as I got a comment about flawed logic. Reworded 47 "grab"s. Changed the runes and masteries a lot because of some comments from fhyve. Added a little more about [item_text=force of nature] because of a comment. Added in another trick you can do with [spell_text=fortify] and a note about Exhaust. Moved [spell_text=fortify] up in the list of summoners because I've now seen a Shen use it in combination with Shadow Dash to get very very fed. I'm leaving in my rant about why I don't like it because I still think it is relevant.
Note: these are in order from what I think are best to worst (from top to bottom)
I find the best summoner on Shen is Ghost. I use ghost to close some distance between me and fleeing enemies to taunt them, to get close enough to their team to initiate, and to get from Dragon to bot lane to save my poor allies down there. I would take Flash except that the ability to move across the map quickly is important when Stand United is down. Also since you have Shadow Dash I think Ghost will be better for escaping.
For your second summoner spell if you're jungling Smite is a must. It just makes jungling fast. If you're not jungling then choose a different summoner.
I run Exhaust a lot. I like to have one offensive summoner spell on Shen because it can add the extra damage you need in your lane to kill the enemies. I like Exhaust for that because it can also be used to save an ally. If you plan on Exhausting an enemy carry such as Twitch and leaving them for a few seconds while he is blinded in a team fight, watch for Cleanse because it can be used on Exhaust again.
If your team is heavy on Exhausts, or (in draft mode) their team has lacking autoattackers (or has a lot of healers), Ignite is a good choice.
Using Clairvoyance would be fine I think, I'm just not great at using it.
I used to be totally happy with [spell_text=Fortify] because it can save a tower and it's not too detrimental not to get a different summoner on a tank like Shen, but I recently thought out why I wouldn't get it: If you use [spell_text=Fortify] at times when a tower won't die from the enemies but will take a lot of damage, then you're denying yourself and your team some XP and last hits because the minions will die faster. However that is null when you're at the tower when you [spell_text=Fortify], but an ally might not be next to their tower and you might rob them of some XP and last hits. Another reason not to get it is because it can screw up an ally's last hitting if the minions are by a tower. Also, I find that when an enemy team has [spell_text=Fortify] its nothing more than a nuisance. When a tower gets [spell_text=Fortify]ed my team just backs off until its worn off, then pushes to it and takes it. [spell_text=Fortify] just delayed the inevitable.
If you do get it, try to bait people to towerdive then use it to deal enough damage to kill them. Note that this is very possible because of Shadow Dash. I recommend leveling Shadow Dash first if you take [spell_text=fortify] because you'll want the long CC. I don't think this will work against higher level teams because its very easy to avoid being Shadow Dashed at the tower, but it seems to work at the ~1400 ELO which my ranked games are in. Another thing to remember about [spell_text=fortify]: you can turn an ally into bait. Get an enemy to towerdive an ally at low health and use Stand United on them, pop [spell_text=fortify] and Shadow Dash for the kill.
I've seen Shen go with Teleport and have been told it's good because combined with Stand United it puts you in every fight. In my mind, you should be initiating the fights or waiting for a better initiator (like Galio or Amumu) to initiate while standing right next to them. The reason I would take Teleport would be to defend against backdooring and to get to your lane faster. I don't think it's a bad choice, just not as good of a choice as other spells.
I would advise against getting Flash when you already have Ghost because your goal is not to get out of teamfights alive, but to make your allies get out of teamfights alive and/or kill people. However Flash can be used for some pretty awesome initiates when combined with Shadow Dash. I don't think the change to Flash (removal of projectile dropping) affects why Shen would use Flash.
I see a lot of Shens bring Heal and I don't really like it. I find that the use of Heal is to bait enemies into diving you while you're at low health and I think Feint is more than enough to save you if they dive you. Late game Heal heals a minimal amount so it's hardly noticeable.
I'm against getting [spell_text=Rally] as the only good use I've found for it is to grab Dragon at level 1 with Shaco.
Do not get Cleanse. If you really find yourself being CCed so much that you can't tank, and your team still dies (because soaking CC is one of your primary jobs) then build a Quicksilver Sash, but it's very very unlikely that you will need to.
Do NOT use Clarity (you have no mana -.-).
Revive is another bad idea because for it to be useful you have to die a lot, and if you plan on dying a lot you're not going to win. To be clear, die in every teamfight before any of your allies, but try to make it so that not even you die in teamfights.
Masteries and Runes
Going down 21 points into defense is a must. You are a tank. Don't forget it. Make sure to get masteries for the summoners that you've taken if you can.
For your last 7-9 points you have a few options. If you are jungling I suggest you get Awareness because if you don't have it you will be level one after taking the Golem and usually that's a good time to gank the lane you're next to with Shadow Dash. If you aren't jungling, or just don't want to gank a lane that early, take Archmage's Savvy and Sorcery in the offense tree because the CDR is useful and the AP (10.8 at level 18) is slightly useful. Just a note for the first two utility masteries: your options are 10% less time dead, which will be noticeable but not necessarily useful though it does mean less chance that you'll be dead when someone needs you to Stand United; your other option is 4% more HP regen which amounts to 0.3 per 5 at level 1 and 0.4 per 5 at level 18 (not counting items. I would suggest you get Good Hands because the HP regen is so minimal.
Here's my mastery page when I use Ghost and Exhaust. I'm having some glitches with the mastery builder. I have a point in Cripple if you can't see it. I can't figure out how to make it show for me though.
Greater Mark of Insight or Greater Mark of Desolation
Marks don't matter too much because there are no offensive runes that Shen can fully utilize. Greater Mark of Insights work nicely because your burst is magic damage. However, if you are jungling I suggest you get Greater Mark of Desolations. They decrease the time it takes to get to level 6 by 10-15 seconds. Also, if you simply want a bit more overall damage and a bit less burst, use Greater Mark of Desolations because you will be autoattacking in team fights more than using Vorpal Blade. Maybe Greater Mark of Resiliences or Greater Mark of Wardings or any other tanky marks instead would work, but I don't think so.
Greater Seal of Evasion or Greater Seal of Resilience or Greater Seal of Lucidity
For my seals I use 9 Greater Seal of Luciditys. They allow me to worry less about running out of energy at a key moment in a teamfight and have become (thanks to the buff a while back) actually noticeable as you spam. If you don't have Greater Seal of Meditations then Greater Seal of Evasions work well and are interchangeable with Greater Seal of Resiliences. Here are the reasons for the different ones:Greater Seal of Evasions will proc Nimbleness more often and are hard to counter with items such as Last Whisper and also are 1.99% better late game; Greater Seal of Resiliences are 2.58% better at level one. I think it is personal preference, but I would still advise getting Greater Seal of Evasions. If the enemy's main carry is Kog'Maw, make sure to get the Greater Seal of Evasions because his main damage is magical but he still autoattacks to do it. I could see using Greater Seal of Fortitudes or Greater Seal of Vitalitys instead.
Greater Glyph of Warding
For my glyphs 9 Greater Glyph of Wardings work well. I don't really think there are any other good options.
Greater Quintessence of Fortitude or Greater Quintessence of Swiftness or Greater Quintessence of Wisdom
For my quints I grab 3 Greater Quintessence of Fortitude. Let me just say that Greater Quintessence of Fortitude OWN. You can replace one or maybe two with a Greater Quintessence of Swiftness or a Greater Quintessence of Wisdom.
If you're not planning on ever jungling as Shen then just skip this. I actually recommend you don't jungle because it's very slow.
To jungle make sure you have Greater Quintessence of Fortitudes, Greater Seal of Resiliences, Greater Mark of Desolations and 1/19/10 Masteries.
As jungle Shen you can easily start at Golem. Get some teammates to guard you in case of the enemies ganking. Get the big wolf before Golem spawns. Vorpal Blade should be your first spell and Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions. You can easily do it with 2 Health Potions and a Sight Ward if they have a jungler and you want to ward their jungle at the start, but that will make you leave the jungle earlier for more items. I've now tried starting with Doran's Shield and 1 Health Potion but I don't think it works as well. You can take the Golem at level 1 but you are left with about 500 HP and no Health Potions.
Start out by throwing a Vorpal Blade on the Golem and just autoattack it. Remember to pop a Health Potion as you start. You probably won't die if you don't, but its better to use it. Keep using Vorpal Blade whenever its up and use Smite when it has 500-600 HP left. You should be able to get it without a problem. Take out its lizards and then move on.
You should be level 2 now. I usually put a point in Feint because it can be used while jungling. Move on to the wolf camp and take them out while spamming Vorpal Blade. Pop Feint if you feel like it. Remember to pop a Health Potion when you are more than 200 HP below full. After you take the wolves you take wraiths. If you do the wraiths then I suggest focusing the small ones down before the big one, and when you attack the big one if you have Ignite use it. Take lizard after wraiths.
Take the lizard the same way you took the golem. Focus the big one and remember to use Vorpal Blade and a Health Potion and take out its little minions after.
Usually my blue buff has worn off or is about to by now. Go take their golem if they don't have a jungler. If they do have a jungler then take the golems at the bottom, go B and hopefully your golem is back.
Keep rotating through your jungle if they have a jungler, or just try to keep all the buffs on your team if they don't. Remember that you can tank the lizard or golem for an ally so when you're going to take one and another person on your team can use the buff better, then tell them to come take it and you'll tank it.
A few things to remember while jungling: hold a lane when an ally went B if you have the health, which you should almost all the time as Shen; offer to lane with the solo lane if they are having a hard time and/or dying; ganking is always appreciated (when you don't give them more kills than you got); and you have Stand United to save people even though you're in the jungle so make sure to watch the minimap.
Heart of Gold is no longer a possible use of the Cloth Armor. I would still get a Heart of Gold for the money gain, but your Cloth Armor is just going to collect dust unless you build it into something along the lines of Aegis of the Legion. Keep in mind, that's not a very bad thing.
Here's a video of how I jungle to level 4 by 4:45:
Also I recommend watching stonewall008's video (10 seconds faster than mine and a lot more hp): http://www.youtube.com/user/stonewall008#p/u/5/tCkSKr1tlHs. I prefer my way because it keeps the buffs longer and you get the slight bonus gold from Smite.
Laning, sadly, is a lot more complicated than jungling.
Start off with a Doran's Shield.
I think solo laning as Shen is a bad idea. He can handle the lane without dying or losing XP or farms pretty easily, but once he hits level 6 he should be always prepared to Stand United an ally, and if the solo laner just leaves their lane then the tower will probably go down.
I also think that Shen should not lane with a heavy carry (like Twitch) if he is the only tank because to be the only tank Shen needs some farms (and by "some farms" I mean "a lot of farms"). However, if you have another tank then sending Shen with a carry works very well because Shen can easily babysit a friend.
Here on out things differ pretty greatly depending on who you are laning with.
BABYSITTING A CARRY
Babysitting a carry is not always easy. Ask them for a bit of help gaining lane dominance at the start. Both of you should try and do some damage right away. After that initial damage they should be able to farm.
Here's a video of Kennen and I obtaining dominance:
If you achieved lane dominance then hang out behind the enemies' creeps and pop feint to block any harass. When a new creep wave comes just duck into the bushes until it has started attacking your creeps. The first thing you'll need to figure out while doing this is their tower's range. You're just gonna have to be risky as you learn, but once you have a hang of it you'll be able to deny very close to their tower. To make sure you're still a threat to them try to hit them with Ki Strike when its up and throw Vorpal Blades at them when you can. If they go all out on you trying to kill you, get your ally to help a bit. Shadow Dash the enemies and hopefully their folly of attacking you will get one or both of them killed.
Once you've pushed to the tower, you get to play a little game with your enemies. Act like you're invincible. When your creeps are tanking the tower just walk up to your enemies. If they don't have CC and they don't run, then harass them (right next to their tower) then use Shadow Dash to get out of tower range. Try to time the harasses right when the tower shoots at a creep because then you have more time to get out of range, but if a shot is coming at you just pop Feint and hope for the best. Keep in mind that if you're past their tower when you harass its better to Shadow Dash toward their Nexus and then loop around through the jungle.
And here's Kennen and I being aggressive in our lane and drawing FB because of it:
Here's me being annoying at their tower, and giving Kennen some time to attack it:
If, sadly, you did not get lane dominance then you have to stand in front of your carry. It doesn't have to be far in front, just a little. Whenever the enemies come to harass your carry throw Vorpal Blade at them, pop Feint and then taunt them and hit them with Ki Strike. Hopefully your carry will throw down a shot or two when you taunt them and they should walk away at below half health. Keep that up a bit and you'll soon gain lane dominance against most teams.
If, god forbid, you get owned trying the above strategy for getting lane dominance, then just tower hug. If they get in range of both Shadow Dash and the tower, pop Feint and taunt them. Hope for the best and don't go B while your carry is at less than full HP. You can hold the lane without them if they go B. Or at least that's what you say cause its better than them getting tower dove.
Oh how I wished I had leveled Shadow Dash one more time instead of Feint...
If you're laning with a support like Sona or Soraka, life is good. Be aggressive. Shadow Dash them and hit them when you can because you have heals or a shield to back you up. Try to kill them. But don't forget to farm. You have great farming because you have a fast attack animation and you have Ki Strike for occasional extra damage or Vorpal Blade for ranged farms. Make sure to practice farming with Shen because it is very important that you can farm well (that's true with all characters, but since each one has different animations and damage each character has different timing).
LANING WITH A FELLOW TANK
Laning with a tank works a lot the same way as laning with a support, except you are going to have a hard time killing them. Focus more on farming, and if one of you can deny then they should because you are very item dependent (and also cause you're just that much better than them ^.^). While laning with a tank make sure not to push. If you can get the enemies to your tower, then your massive amount of CC will be able to keep them in tower aggro for about a thousand years.
Doran's Shield and Mercury's Treads
or if you are jungling
Cloth Armor and Mercury's Treads
Why do I have such a small core build? Because as a tank your build depends almost completely on the enemy team. The only time that the core build should be changed is if they have literally no AoE CC. Then you get Ninja Tabi instead of Mercury's Treads.
Here are some good items for Shen and when to use them:
Aegis of the Legion
Aegis of the Legion is a great item. Gives some health, some MR and some Armor. Keeping that in mind, I almost never get it. While Aegis of the Legion is a great item, it has two big drawbacks. The first is that its not as tanky as Shen needs. Shen, as I have stated before, has very low base health, MR and Armor for a tank. Having Aegis of the Legion when a lot of its cost is due to the aura might leave you dead faster than you want to be. However you can level up Feint more than otherwise to get the tank you need. The other downside to Aegis of the Legion is its very inexpensive. Buying it in a game not going well is a great idea because it might give you the advantage you need. One of Phreak's spotlights details more why this is (I cant remember which).
Banshee's Veil is my favorite item to start with against a heavy AP team. A lot of people say "you should get [item_text=Force of Nature] not Banshee's Veil because you can't use mana" but the reason Banshee's Veil is better early is because you need the health. Health is better than MR when your max health is low or when the other team isn't pure magic damage and also because with Ki Strike health is even more beneficial to you in combat. Banshee's Veil is also a great item to get for its passive against an Amumu or Galio because their AoE CC can shut you out of the fight when you could be saving your allies.
If you're having a really tough time in your lane, buying a second Doran's Shield is not a bad idea. It will give you a nice one up over your enemies and you can sell it when you need more inventory space. Buying three or four might be overkill though.
[item=Force of Nature]
Before getting this make sure you have a health item first though, and also that Banshee's Veil's passive won't be too useful (just make sure you're not against Amumu, Galio, or a really good Shen). A lot of people buy [item_text=force of nature] because of the HP regen and I don't think its a very viable reason. Yes, it is amazing HP regen, but after the laning phase (which should end before you get enough money for this) the HP regen will heal you about 1.65% (+40) of your HP in a team fight (that's 5 seconds) which is much less of a noticeable bonus than the 450 HP from a Banshee's Veil as your max health will probably be under the 27272 health that you would need for the regen from [item_text=force of nature] to be more valuable in a team fight than the health from Banshee's Veil. Most likely the way you will notice the HP regen will be when waiting for a time to initiate while the teams poke each other. All in all, you should be using [item_text=force of nature] for the amazing 76 MR rather than the 40 + 1.65% HP regen.
STACK THESE! They are the most MR you can get for your money by a lot. Against a full magic team I consistently have Banshee's Veil, boots and 4 Negatron Cloak and am completely untouchable.
Heart of Gold
Oh Heart of Gold, how I miss your power. Don't be afraid to buy one of these regardless of whether you plan to get Randuin's Omen. It has been nerfed VERY heavily and no longer will stack nicely, as the best part of it was the large amount of armor for a low price.
Remember how I said "Do not get Cleanse. If you really find yourself being CCed so much that you can't tank, and your team still dies (because soaking CC is one of your primary jobs) then build a Quicksilver Sash, but it's very very unlikely that you will need to"? Yeah? Well that's when you get Quicksilver Sash.
Randuin's Omen is a really good item to get against a heavy physical team, or as your Armor against a balanced team. It adds a nice amount of health, a very nice amount of Armor, and gives an active which is useful in teamfights and while chasing to slow. It's a really good first item to get when they have a lot of physical damage.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
You're probably going "wtf" right now. Rylai's Crystal Scepter works surprisingly well on Shen. I only grab it as a first item, and only against an AP heavy team. It will make you burst like the prenerf Shen, give you a small slow, make your Feint and Stand United better and give you a really nice amount of health. I only get this against an AP heavy team because there are better Armor items to get, but its a nice amount of health to get for tanking when you don't want armor.
I love Sunfire Capes. I think it is the best item to start with against a physical damage heavy team. Make sure not to get more than one as their passive is now unique. When you have the majority of the kills on your team or are farming better than anyone else, make SURE to get one of these. The reason for this is because you are becoming the most fed champion. If you build pure tank its much harder to steamroll, and I don't just mean for you, the whole team could probably use the extra damage if they're underfed.
Thornmail is a good item to finish off your antiphysical repertoire. However, since there are such nice Armor items that add a lot of health, I'd only get it as a last item. Unless you are getting roflstomped by Twitch. Wanna know a secret? If one person has a thornmail and is hit by Twitch's Spray and Pray then Twitch dies.
I have considered getting Abyssal Scepter every game that I am more farmed or more fed than my allies. If, after your Sunfire Cape, your allies still don't pump out enough damage to kill the enemies AND you're still surviving until the end then you should build an Abyssal Scepter. The reasons are the same ones for Sunfire Cape. It will boost your damage, your survivability, and boost your AP allies' damage.
I really loathe to put this on the viable list, but I am finding too many games could be won (and are won) if the tank did more damage. If you find yourself in the most fed role of the team and the enemies are mostly or all physical damage, get Atma's Impaler. It will make you do some more damage and possibly salvage a team with too few items on its' carries.
I got a recent post making some valid points about Spirit Visage. In most situations I would continue to get other MR items because you can get much better stats for only slightly more money with Negatron Cloak, Regrowth Pendant and Ruby Crystal. The healing bonus is almost useless (math in comments to support this), but if you want the CDR then it's a good small MR item to pick up.
ITEMS NOT TO GET
I don't like Frozen Heart on Shen not because of the mana, but because of the CDR. At first glance, CDR would be great for Shen because it would mean he could Shadow Dash more. The one problem is he couldn't taunt more because he wouldn't have the energy. Get your CDR from Golem buff. Don't Itemize it.
Same as above.
Please, please, please don't snowball with a tank. You're supposed to die. Also you won't be getting many kills unless you are a god at KSing.
Frankly, ever heard of [item_text=Madred's Bloodrazor]? How bout of Hungering Strike? Or Bio-Arcane Barrage? Well. That's why you don't stack health. The other reason not to stack health is because Armor and MR stack % so at a point its better to get Armor or MR instead of health simply because they will increase the effective health by more than any reasonable amount of health can. Another reason not to use Warmog's Armor is because it gives nothing you can't get elsewhere (such as [item_text=force of nature]'s move speed or Randuin's Omen's slow), instead it gives you a special passive that... give you more health.
I've had Guardian Angel in the good items for long time and I assume that I put it there before it was nerfed. Reviving with 500~ HP will do you no good. Since it no longer revives with a % health it's not particularly viable on tanks because it will revive you with 15% or so HP and the enemies can easily burn down that last bit of health. Also being dead at a point in a teamfight makes you useless and if your allies die while you are dead then you won't be able to do anything when you revive.
When babysitting a carry I usually skill Feint first. Feint allows me to be behind the enemies' creep line without worrying about taking too much harassment. However, if my carry wants to try to kill the enemies then I'll grab Shadow Dash so that we might be able to keep them close long enough to kill them. If I got Shadow Dash first then I'll learn Feint second. As I said above, Feint allows me to be behind the enemies' creeps without taking too much harassment. If I already have Feint then it depends on the situation. If I'm successfully denying XP and/or farms then I'll get a level of Vorpal Blade, but if my ally is getting harassed any reasonable amount, then it's time for Shadow Dash so that I can stop towerdives, or make our combined harass a lot more powerful than theirs.
When laning with a tank I always learn Shadow Dash first because our method of getting kills is to CC them next to our tower. If we cant kill them at all I might get two levels of Vorpal Blade for last hitting. Otherwise I'll level up Shadow Dash.
While jungling I'll get two levels of Vorpal Blade.
Otherwise here are some general ideas of how to figure out what to level (its different every game):
Level up Vorpal Blade very rarely. It's not very useful in teamfights while both of your other skills are. The use of Vorpal Blade is to either harass or to jungle. I would never get it over level 3 before you've maxed out your other skills. Here are the two times in-lane that you should level up Vorpal Blade: when you are constantly denying but not taking much damage doing it, or when your laning partner doesn't last hit at all in which case you want a second level of it to ensure your farms.
Level up Feint when either you are being heavily harassed outside of teamfights, when you are tower diving repeatedly, or when you are the only one on your team dying in teamfights. Judging what will happen in teamfights while you're laning is really just guesswork. I'd suggest going off of how ganks and laning is going to tell. If three of you gank your lane then base what you level around how that gank went and pretend it was something of a teamfight.
Shadow Dash is never a horrible choice to level up. I prefer to level it more after I have a level or two of Feint because I find Shadow Dash almost useless in laning phase unless you're killing a lot. However, if you're almost being towerdove make sure to level this as it will give you the best chance of killing the towerdiver and/or saving your ally. Some people say you want to make sure this is level 5 when teamfights start, but if you die first and you died so fast that your team couldn't kill them, then its a better idea to level up Feint so that you can live longer.
Working in the Team
Oh. Yay. Teamwork.
Shen has a few jobs to do in the team. Tanking in teamfights, saving allies from ganks, tanking in towerdiving, facechecking bushes, tanking skillshots, initiating, tanking in ganks and sometimes pushing sidelanes. Here's a few pointers for how to do all of these:
Saving Allies from ganks
Keep an eye on your minimap. When you see an enemy appear somewhere you didn't expect, or when you see an ally moving towards their tower, when you see an ally right next to their tower or just when there are a clump of people on the minimap, make sure you aren't autopathing into their tower and then quickly check it out. If they look like they might need help soon, just keep watching. Try to use Stand United when they have 100-300 HP left because that will bait the enemies the most. But most importantly, do it before they die. The moment you arrive (if they survived that long) Shadow Dash as many enemies as you can. If your ally(s) decide to fight, then duke it out. Throw Vorpal Blades and taunt as much as you can. If not, run a different direction than your ally. If the enemies don't keep following you, go back and start attacking then until they do. If they do follow you, its time to get away. Shadow Dash through a wall if you can. Make sure to spam Feint and get in a bush. Leave the bush as they go in. You prolly just earned yourself 1-2 seconds.
Here's an example of saving Lux. If only she had mana for a snare... =(
Make sure you watch the channel bar while you use Stand United in case it gets cancelled... or this happens:
Only do this if your team has a really good initaitor/tank other than you. Just attackmove down the lane and WATCH YOUR ALLIES. This is pointless if you don't Stand United in correctly. If the game is going poorly, then just Stand United your carry and start tanking when you arrive. If the game is going well and your team has a chance of winning the fight without you, wait for a moment when an ally is about to die and then use Stand United. Remember to watch the minimap a bit so you don't get ganked wile pushing.
Tanking in Teamfights (or ganks)
If you do this wrong SHAME ON YOU. Shen is a main tank seconded by NO ONE. Okay. Maybe Rammus is a better main tank. But I don't think so. Shen's semi spammable AoE taunt makes him the target of the enemies AT LEAST 20% of the time. In teamfights, before you Shadow Dash, make sure to pop Feint. You need to taunt their carries. Don't worry too much about taunting other tanks. Try to get as many of their carries as you can in your taunt. A quick tip about when fighting Twitch: Shadow Dash him and get behind him. This will make his Spray and Pray hit only you instead of your whole team.
After taunting, use Vorpal Blade on whoever your physical carry is attacking and start attacking their squishiest person in the fray. Do not go behind their lines to target squishy ranged characters because just by being in the middle of it you are defense for your team.
When Shadow Dash comes off cooldown, taunt whoever is attacking your heaviest carry. If you only get them, thats okay. You need your carry to live. If they die, your damage is mostly gone.
Remember that you have Stand United while you teamfight. The moment someone who does damage gets to low health, use Stand United on them. Do not use it on another tanky champion such as Garen or Mordekaiser. You wasted Stand United if you saved a tanky character that does less damage, but your carry died.
When ganking get all your enemies in the taunt... not like this:
but like this:
Also make sure to time your CC so they don't stack with an allies if you want a kill.
Here's some tanking in a gank-turned-teamfight:
Tanking in Towerdiving
When going in to tank a towerdive, start it out with a Shadow Dash and Feint or a Ghost and a Shadow Dash through the enemy and away from the tower. If you have time for your Shadow Dash to come off cooldown, or you got close to the enemy another way, Shadow Dash through the enemy away from the tower. This will pull them a little bit away from the tower and let your allies attack with relative safety. Remember to pop feint for the tower hits when you can, and try to pop it on later tower hits because each consecutive hit deals more damage so more damage will be absorbed if you use it on later ones.
Here's a pretty good job at towerdiving. I just wish I hadn't gone for stopping Cho'Gath's blue pill.
Just pop Feint and Shadow Dash into the bush. But make sure you do it before your carry does.
Pop Feint and try to intercept any skillshots for your allies. If you brough Flash and a killing CC skillshot (such as a Enchanted Crystal Arrow or a Dark Binding) is incoming to your carry then Flash in front of it. Remember to intercept Ace in the Hole! You can dash in front of it to prevent a good 1000 damage to your squishy. To make sure you're in the way, when an ally is being aggressive then make sure to be in front of them because enemies will try to finish them and when they have someone like Blitzcrank a single skillshot can be your ally's death.
Remember to always be in front of the team. Here's why:
The most important thing about initiating is to do it when everyone is there. You want to know where your whole team is and that they are ready to fight. It's generally a good idea to check that their ults are up (keep in mind that the display glitches occasionally, but I've only noticed that on TF). Once everyone is ready, start running at the enemies. Make sure your team is behind you, but not far behind you. Shadow Dash as many enemies as you can, but MAKE SURE that their tank is not just passing you and going to initiate on your squishies. If their tank is trying to bypass you, get in his way. Try to Shadow Dash through him and to other enemies so that he is taunted as well. If you can't taunt both their tank and other members of their team, it might be a good idea to try to back out, especially if their tank is a better initiator such as Galio or Amumu. Otherwise try to taunt their team instead of their tank. If you brought Flash then you can use it to set up an initiate, but don't too far ahead of your allies or your initiate is wasted.
Shen out. This last section are some general tips which I've picked up as I play. If you have a tip of your own then send a comment and I'll probably put it in (no promises ^^).
Guard your jungler's buffs.
Especially against a strong enemy jungler such as Warwick, guarding buffs is IMPORTANT! I find the best way to start is with two people guarding golem and two guarding lizard. If you're jungling then try and get your allies to guard your buffs. If your jungler is Shaco, GUARD THE BOXES! And don't just think "ok, minions are at the tower, time for me to go" if he starts at lizard. Why? Because Twitch can come in and pop the boxes at Lizard any time before Shaco starts taking it.
When you blue pill, buy wards! Ward dragon, baron, the entrances to the river, bushes in your lane, enemy buffs, both jungles, WARD EVERYWHERE IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY. The obvious reason is for map awareness, so you know what the enemies are doing when but also, if you ward the bushes in your lane the minions will attack your enemies in the bushes forcing them out.
Get a hp potion or two and a mana potion when you leave base. It lets you stay in the battle just a little longer.
At the start of a fight, pop a health potion. Over the duration of the fight it could be a good 100+ hp and is a HUGE edge in early game combat.
Don't be bottom after minute 25.
Unless you can see that enemies are down there too. Baron goes down quickly with all five people attacking it and even if you have it warded you can't necessarily get there in time if you're farming bottom.
Watch your minimap.
I swear I spend at least a quarter of my game time looking at the minimap. If you don't keep an eye on it you'll miss something, be it an ally getting ganked, the enemies taking dragon or just mid being MIA, you want to be able to know.
When your lane disappears, let your allies know. It can be as simple as saying "mia" or if you want you can say "vlad mia top", it doesn't matter just get the message across. If you're laning bottom indicate how many are MIA and preferably who is MIA. If you see that the enemies in another lane are MIA, call it. A second call never hurt anyone. Then just be sure to say which lane is MIA.
Check who is in what lane.
I don't mean decide who is going where, I mean see who the enemies sent where. Then you know who is MIA when someone says "mid mia" and who is more gankable.
Check summoner spells.
It's important to know what summoner spells your enemies have and what your lane partner has. If you're laning against someone with Heal, it's probably not a good idea to towerdive them. Then again, if your ally has Ignite you can get him to initiate with that and the Heal will be less effective.
I see too many level 30s autoattacking in the lane. Just get the last hit on a creep. Your goal is not to get a tower by minute 5 (though that's always nice too). Primary reason for this is so you are less vulnerable to ganks.
Don't invade someone else's lane.
If you took bottom tower at minute 10, now is NOT the time to go mid with Ashe. She needs her farms and you need yours. Buy more wards so you have more information to avoid ganks and keep farming in your lane. If you want you can force a fight at bottom, or just force the enemies to come down there as your Ashe pushes mid. So when can you go mid? When multiple enemies are going mid or when Ashe is going off somewhere else, but if she tells you to leave then LEAVE.
If you're jungling, laning bot, or just owning your opponent, go give an ally a little help. Maybe pop in and kill their Anivia in mid, or just hit her enough that she needs to tower hug or blue pill. Even just showing up and scaring her enough to make her Flash is good. Just don't stick around. Also, when ganking don't sit in the bush for 3 minutes waiting for the right time. Either go in or go home.
Announce when a enemy with a global ultimate hits level 6.
"kart 6" is the keyword for "don't get low cause you have 150 lower HP."
I don't know anyone who has never raged at least a little in a game. Try not to. Allies want to help less and less the more you rage. Whenever an ally is doing bad I say "it's never their fault" (sarcastically) because 90% of the time the ally starts yelling about how much everyone else sucks. Just admit that you're not doing well, everyone has bad games sometimes, most people will totally understand.
Don't go into a bad fight.
I don't care if your Rammus initiated, you should not go in when there are four of you, four of them, and one of them MIA. The next things in chat will be "Quadra Kill" and "where did Yi come from?" because you're walking into a 4v5. Don't do it, it won't work.
Remember that you have allies.
I have seen many two man premades who are in Vent or Skype just ignore the fact that they have allies and not inform anyone of anything. In fact, I've even been half of one of those premades. Don't do it. You're not a two man team against eight. Inform your allies and listen to them when they say "5 top, help defend" instead of pushing bottom or getting dragon.
Expect the worst.
If notice that your Warwick found their Rammus in the jungle, expect that Warwick is getting owned and GO OVER THERE. If Warwick is not, in fact, getting owned, he will be soon because the enemies will try to save Rammus.
So, there's my two cents. Thanks for reading and GLHF with LoL!
Submitted by nightfangm
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