Shen Build Guide

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Shen - The Uber Tank Ninja

written by the big rico

Shen Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Hey guys thanks for reading my guide, I've found that I have read several Shen guides and many have some good points but are often too long and confusing or lacking in certain components. I designed this guide to be short sharp and to the point, hopefully covering everything you need to know in order to play Shen well with a bunch of tips and tricks thrown in. You could play Shen as pure dps or sometimes caster but i think (and most everyone else would argue my point) tank Shen is by far the most effective and can have considerable damage output as well. This is the way I play Shen.

    I'll focus almost all of my tips and tricks in each champion ability section so i recommend reading them carefully :)

    p.s I'd love you to rate my guide but if your going to rate it down please post a reason as to why thanks.

  • Basic Guide Summary

    Ghost Ignite

    9 X
    9 X
    9 X
    3 X

    Masteries : 8/21/1

    Quick Item look:
    [item_icon=Force of Nature]or

  • Abilities

    Ki Strike
    This ability is great for securing last hits on minions and playing as a tank with considerable hit points makes this a very nice extra damage passive.

    Vorpal Blade
    This is an amazing laning and last hitting tool. The regen you get off attacking marked targets will keep you in your lane with high hp and if your at full hp is an easy last hit tool for farming once its at about level three.
    Its very spam-able as it has a low cooldown and your energy replenishes very quickly, its also nice for harassing if you find it amusing to hang purple shinny dildos above the heads of your enemies.

    Although a tricky spell to get the hang of feint has amazing potential. Some tips; use to absorb damage from ignite, block most damage from zileans time bombs, absorb damage from poisons, etc.
    This is also get for absorbing extra damage in team fights, as you are the tank its important you take most of the damage in team fights.
    Also when your ninja senses tell you that there is an incoming skill-shot you can whack feint on to repel some or all of the damage.

    and btw they recently-ish changed it so it absorbs all kinds of damage including turret damage so using this in combination with shadow dash gives you huge turret diving ability :)

    Shadow Dash
    This is my favorite and the most important of Shens abilities. Shadow dash has many different uses;

    Escaping: This can give you a distance boost between you and pursuers but ideally you should look for a small wall in which you can jump to force those chasing you around the wall giving you a huge lead and making you near impossible to then catch.

    Saving Allies: As the tank your most important job is to keep your carries alive by any means. If a friendly carry is being chased on low hp then you can simply dash through them and force them away for your team mate for up to 2 secs, if u run in the opposite direction the enemy will be forced to chase you giving your ally a further head start.

    Taking damage in team fights: This one is important, in a team fight if you have most of your health then you should taunt through as many of the enemies as you can to draw the fire away from your high damage dealers so they may stay alive to eliminate the other team. Make sure you use this in combination with feint cause you are garenteed to take damage to block as much as you can.

    Chasing: If your chasing an enemy and you are close behind then simply taunt through them so you catch up and they are forced to stand and fight, securing either yourself or an ally the kill.

    Turret diving
    If you want to turret dive at mid - early levels then this is a great spell to either dash in and secure to kill, reducing the amount of time it takes to get there obviously reduces time turret is shooting you, or dashing out of turret range after getting the kill.

    Defending turrets: This is my favorite use for shadow dash. If one or two champions come in with a wave of minions to attack your turret you can dash through them and say 'come here bitch' to which your turret will say 'oi, don't attack my ally', the turret will automatically begin attacking the enemy often scoring yourself a kill or at least deterring them from taking your turret.
    An important note is that you can taunt stealthers out of invis.

    Stand United
    This is an amazing ult that comes with a stupidly long cooldown. Perfect for saving allies in trouble, a 2 v 1 gank can instantly turn to a 2 v 2 fair fight, as soon as you hit level 6 you must constantly be checking your map for conflicts, if a fight in another lane looks like your allies might lose then drop your ult and turn the tides.
    In a team fight if as ally is being focused and low on hp then ult to them to give them an extra 750 hp (at level 3). As soon as you teleport, taunt through the attacker so your ally can either kill them or escape without dying.

    It's also good for escaping ganks but make sure you use it very early now and not at the last moment, as they have removed the shield from shen, its now only your ally so you need to be able to take 2.5 odd seconds of damage to survive. Can also be used to assist a turret diving ally to secure the kill and both escape with hp to spare.

  • Summoner Abilities

    Many summoner abilities are useful with Shen but i find the two most effective spells are;

    Ghost - I love ghost, amazing escape spell combined with shadow dash makes you a bitch to catch, or catching up to enemies to get it a taunt and secure the kill. A must have every game!
    Ignite - As you are a tank you have fairly little damage output, well late game that is, early game you have crazy damage output if leveling up vorpal blade first and ignite will help you do that bit extra damage to get a kill. It has great damage output in late game for team fights and smaller fights and it is true damage so is great against those hard to kill tanks like youself :)

    Other Recommended
    Exhaust - Now reduces att damage and ap so great for cutting down effectiveness of carries in team fights and great for chasing.
    Cleanse - another great escape spell, if you take cleanse and ghost you're stupidly hard to catch.
    Flash - can always be useful for all kinds of champions but i think ghost is much more useful as shen already has shadow dash.
    Smite - If you are going to jungle then i highly recommend smite to make sure you are as fast as possible with getting gold and xp. Vorpal blade makes Shen potentially a very strong jungler and your ult means you can come to your allies aid instantly from lv 6.
    Clairvoyance - This can be a very useful spell if no one else on your team has it, it has a very low cooldown and amazing for checking for ganks, dragon, baron, etc. I never take this spell but if your team wants it ghost and Clairvoyance would a fine combination although when someone on the other team uses it i do enjoy standing under it and dancing for shits and giggles.

    Not Recommended
    Teleport - your ult is already a teleport and the purpose of vorpal blade is to stay in your lane as long as possible so you shouldn't be needing this often.
    Revive - Under no circumstances should you be dying enough to make this useful in a game, if you usually die more than 6 or 7 times in a 35 minute game then play another champion.
    [spell=Fortify] - This spell tends to be useless often only stopping a push for 6 seconds only to have your tower fall shortly afterward, but if you have the mastery and using taunt, this could be the difference between victory or defeat in a team fight around your tower.
    Clarity - If you are considering taking this you might first want to see what the talking unicorn in your living room has to say about it.
    [spell=Rally] - Can be ok in team fights but since the health regen has been removed its nowhere near as effective, another spell would be much more effective in my opinion.
    Heal - I'm not a fan of this spell at all, may save your life like once but you shouldn't need to use it as you will be healing off minions whenever you are on low hp, ghost would be much more effective if you were ganked.

  • Runes

    For runes i recommend

    Marks : 9 X Greater Mark of Insight
    Seals : 9 X Greater Seal of Evasion or Greater Seal of Fortitude
    Glyphs : 9 X Greater Glyph of Celerity
    Quintessence : 3 X Greater Quintessence of Fortitude

    Basically the marks to help farming and general damage output with vorpal blade, Ki Strike and later Sunfire cape. Seals because dodge seals have been proved to be the best defensive runes you can get but if you can't help but get stuck down in detail and insist that more dodge means less ki strike procking then take the extra hp at the start instead (personally i still think dodge is the best despite procking ki strike less). Glyphs so you can spam feint and vorpal blade more often and having a lower cooldown on shadow dash is good for chasing, escaping and drawing attention in team fights and your ult has a very long cooldown. Finally flat hp quints for the extra 100 hp at the start which improves Ki Strike and makes you even harder to kill

  • Masteries

    For Masteries I take 8/21/1 focusing on defense, taking the cooldowns in offense and improved ghost in utility. Here's the link

  • Skilling Order

    I use this skilling order because although feint and shadow dash are very useful tools they just don't compare to how deadly vorpal blade is at early levels (3 - 9). Vorpal blade has amazing damage output and combined with ki strike is a very heavy harass. It is also an insane last hitting tool once you have 2 or 3 points in it you can last hit 3 or 4 minions per wave with vorpal blade alone. Feint is good early levels but excels mostly later game in team fights and other skirmishes. Shadow Dash's most useful tool early levels is the dash itself which of course is unaffected by leveling the taunt like feint is most useful later game. If leveled up first vorpal blade will get you many kills, keep you on high hp and reward you with lots of gold from minions.

    Note: If you are soloing v 2 then you should take feint at level two instead of 4, or just if you have no lane control in a 2 v 2 then take feint at level 2. The reason I usually take shadow dash first is it is such a great escape spell and is amazing for chasing and securing early kills.

  • Items

    You should almost always begin with a Ruby Crystal. [I know that by far most Shens will take a Doran's Shield The Reason I dont take a Doran's Shield is because Aegis of the Legion is such a vital item and you need it asap so instead of slowing your build down you can start building it from the very start. Also because I rarely having hp regen problems because of vorpal blade and the main reason people use Dorans Sheild is for the regen and being able to take a health pot. If you are going to be soloing v 2 then you could take a Doran's Shield and a Health Potion]
    Only return to base if you have to, or if you have enough money to buy Boots of Speed and finish your Ruby Crystal into an Aegis of the Legion
    After that finish your boots into Mercury's Treads as soon as possible. Once you have these two items you should have a little over 100 armour and about 100 mr which is 50% damage reduction, this is a great place to be in with two items so now i usually grab a Sunfire Cape to give me a nice boost in hp and damage and so I rarely have to worry about armour again. After this you need to think about whether the enemy is made up of mostly magic or physical damage. If magic is the problem then go straight for a [item=Force of Nature] (which I would do 90% of games as you have plenty of hp and armor). If almost all the damage is physical then build towards a Randuin's Omen. After this you just need to look at the enemy team again and then see what you need, whether it be more mr, armor or hp.
    If you are having no trouble tanking then you can build a Frozen Mallet and an Atma's Impalerto make your auto attacks hit hard and give you overall more damage (this is only if you are dominating or if you have another pure tank, in most cases you will be most useful as a pure tank)

    Reasoning (My 5 Favorite items)
    Aegis of the Legion - This is an amazing starting item, it gives you and your team mates a nice boost of armor and magic resist. It also gives you a nice amount of health, good in all situations.
    Mercury's Treads - No other boots will do on Shen these are a must have. the extra magic resist is nice but the real reason you get these is for the 35% reduced debuffs, these help you escape ganks and chase enemies more than any other boots. One example is if fiddle fears you then your only feared for about 2 seconds instead of 3 which is invaluable also if you are caught in Galios ult then these will release you from the taunt early enough for you to escape all the damage at the end of the ult if u can shadow dash out fast enough, this is an amazing item.
    Sunfire Cape - This is a great tank item, it is fairly cheap and you want health and armor, the 40 dps also helps a lot in team fight and means you have guaranteed assists :) (Note: These no longer stack so never even think about getting more than one)
    [item=Force of Nature] - If the other team has even one or two casters that are doing well then this is an amazing item. You should be getting plenty of hp so the hp regen from this item alone will be more than enough. Most importantly this is the best magic resist item in the game and along with your Mercuries Treads and Aegis of the Legion casters will no longer be any problem to you. Also the speed boost is really great for escaping ganks and chasing enemies. Highly recommended item.
    Randuin's Omen - This gives you heaps of armor plus some health, health regen, a nice cooldown reduction and an amazing active. You use this in a team fight and the effectiveness of the other teams dps carries is drastically cut, and you will take less damage after you taunt through their team when you have them attacking you. Can also be used to chase - using the slow. Once you have this item you can laugh as physical dps carries trying to damage you and watch them flee in fear when they realize their efforts are futile.

    Other Good Items

    Guardian Angel - This is a crazy tank item and I highly recommend it, the armor and mr is great for versing a fairly even damage team. The revive is a nice bonus but don't think you can suicide bomb with it as you only revive with 750 hp and if there are 3 or 4 champs waiting for you as you return from the grave your chances of escape are fairly minimal. If you already have a Randuins Omen then this item may be a bit over kill but if your enemies are all physical damage then it is amusing.
    Banshee's Veil - If you are versing a heavy caster team this would be an excellent item but a bit of a waste with the mana. If you wanted more health then you could use this instead of a Force of Nature but personally i do prefer the FoN.
    Warmog's Armor - Of course a terrific tank item and the health would work well with ki strike and Atmas Impailer(if you decide to get one). If you have plenty of armor and mr then this item would be great to make you near indestructible. This will also work very well with your Force of Nature to give you crazy hp regen.
    Thornmail - Effective against heavy dps team but it doesnt give you hp and you get more than enough armor without it but yes it is nice having dps's eat themselves on you with out having to do anything especially since you force them to attack you when you use shadow dash. Another personal preference item like Banshees.
    Frozen Heart - Could be effective but the mana is a big waste i would go for a Raudins Omen instead every time, does the same job but you can utilize every part of it.
    Frozen Mallet - This is where you begin to become someone that can really do some damage, the huge boost in hp means obviously more tanky and improves Ki Strike, also the slow means you are very hard to escape from or you could slow enemies chasing your carries. This is a very fun item and is fine with or without an Atma's.
    Atma's Impaler - This takes advantage of all the hp you have now got, along with the extra armor and crit chance you will be getting about an extra 80 damage if you have close to 4000 hp which is a scary damage output for a tank

  • Build Example

    Regular Build for a Mixed Team
    [item_icon=Force of Nature]

    Verses team with more Casters
    [item_icon=Force of Nature]

    Verses team with more Physical Damage

    Tank dps
    [item_icon=Force of Nature]

  • Game Play

    Laning Phase
    When laning your main focus is to keep yourself at close to full health using vorpal blade encase a fight starts or you need to turret dive,etc. Your second priority is last hitting or harassing with vorpal blade, harassing with vorpal blade and ki strike combination will do some serious damage but pick your targets wisely, if you're laning against a pantheon if you go to harass him chances are he will use spear through or stun and heartseeker strike so in this case it may be better to stick with farming, vorpal blades range is small so be careful.

    If you're ganking one champ with one or two other team mates then you can use shadow dash to initiate and secure the target for a while and prevent them escaping, if someone else initiates with a stun or heavy slow then save your taunt until their escape attempt and hold them in place at the end for the kill.
    You can also use your ult to gank by using another champ on low hp as bait luring a lone enemy into a fight, then stand united with your team mate and immediately shadow dash to secure the kill.

    Team Fights
    In team fights as the tank you should be one of the ones to initiate the fight, but don't use shadow dash to initiate, wait until the enemies begin to focus your carries then taunt as many as you can to focus the damage back on yourself, or if they begin to flee then taunt as many as possible to secure more kills for your team. During the fight try to tag as many enemies with vorpal blade as possible so your team mates are being healed, although its a very small over time heal it could make the difference between a close win or lose. You can spam feints throughout the fight to soak up more damage but make sure you don't run yourself too low on energy, you want to have enough for a shadow dash at exactly the moment you need it.

  • Twisted Treeline

    Twisted Treeline is a fairly different play style to Summoners Rift, there is a lot more ganking and a lot less laning. Because of this there are many early team fights which means it is even more important to get an Aegis of the Legion as fast as you can so do the same as summoners rift, starting with a Ruby Crystal. After you have an Aegis of the Legion and Mercury's Treads you could think about getting a Sunfire Cape as usual if your facing a fairly even team or a Guardian Angel is a great 3rd item. After that just continue to build what you need to combat the enemy teams damage. Frozen Mallet is also a great item for TT.

    WARDS and ACHIEVEMENTS: It is essential to ward when playing TT because ganks are so frequent. Share the cost with your team and take it in turns to place wards at the Lizard Elder in the middle of the jungle, this will let you see most gank paths and if the other team is going for the red buff. Also ward the Dragon above the top lane. The Lizard and Dragon are very important in TT and whenever you can you should get them while the other team is unaware. Keeping wards at both of these means you will know as soon as they have respawned and can grab them before the enemy team which will get your team ahead with valuable gold and xp.

    In TT you should still take Ghost but instead of Ignite you should take Smite or Clairvoyance. Smite allows your team to easily take the Lizard and Dragon at lower levels and stops the other team from stealing your buffs if you use smite to finish it off, you can even use it to steal buffs for your own team. Clairvoyance works similar to another free ward, use it to check for ganks when enemies are mia and use it to check Lizard and Dragon if you don't have wards at that time. Just make sure your team has at least one Smite and one Clairvoyance.

    I would still use the same skilling order for TT as your team needs early damage output for fights you could choose to level up feint first but you will find that your team mates will just get targeted instead. Also vorpal blade will be great for our team when getting the Lizard and Dragon.

  • Summary

    So yeahs hopefully that's all you should need to know to be able to play Shen effectively and do a good job at assisting your team in their strive for world domination. Remember that is your primary job, to hold up your team in team fights, soak up damage, save your allies and push like a mofo. Once again i ask if u rate this guide down then please leave a comment as to why thanks.

    I love playing Shen and I hope you have heaps of fun playing him too and as riot would say, see you on the fields of justice =D

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