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SHEN BUILD GUIDE: Are Ninjas truly strongest alone? Support Shen Guide by A2ZOMG

by A2ZOMG (last updated 5 months ago)

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9
Greater Seal of Scaling Health(+9.72 health per level (174.96 at champion level 18))
9
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist(+1.35 magic resist per level (24.3 at champion level 18))
3
Greater Quintessence of Armor(+12.78 armor)
9
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration(+7.83 magic penetration)
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Summoner Spells
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Starting

2

Full Item Build

View Item Details
0
16
14
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 0/4
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
0 Offense
mastery 1 2/2
mastery 2 2/2
mastery 3 0/2
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 4 1/3
mastery 1 3/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
16 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 3/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
14 Utility
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Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Ki Strike
QVorpal Blade
WFeint
EShadow Dash
RStand United
View Skill Order Details

Introduction

Updated for Season 4! Comment and Enjoy!

Shen is a controversial champion known for his sustain and global ultimate, which have often made him a pick or ban champion back when he was statistically stronger. With the release of stronger duelists and faster split pushers, Shen has fallen out of favor as a solo laner given there are many matchups he has little hope of winning without massive assistance. As a jungler he also isn't preferable due to his inability to farm it quickly.

This doesn't mean he's weak as a whole however. The changes to items and gold income in my opinion significantly increase the viability of Shen as a support, especially given the increased tendency for games to last longer in this season. Duo laning is overall more versatile for Shen given his inherently supportive kit, which can shine in many situations at all points of the game, and should the game last long enough Shen's durability scaling and global presence makes him one of the stronger lategame supports available.

Pros:
  • Manaless
  • Sustain
  • Extremely good at initiating and peeling
  • Health scaling synergizes very well with Relic Shield
  • Good ranged poke
  • Very hard to kill
  • Ultimate can save a life anywhere, which is good for counter ganking, protecting squishy teammates, and even amplifying initiations.

Cons:
  • Poke has relatively short range, and you can be kited if you overcommit.
  • Sustaining your carry can potentially push your lane
  • Shen does significantly less damage than other supports earlygame, so your burst combos are not as likely to kill people earlygame.
  • Shen is a moderately level dependent champion. All of his abilities, while useful at all points of the game, are noticeably more effective at later ranks, and duo laning will slow down your experience gains early on.

Reasons why this is preferable to top lane Shen?
  • Shen can be counterpicked top lane by champions like ChoGath, Olaf, Aatrox, Shyvana and many ranged champions
  • Everyone expects Shen to be played top lane, and people who know how to counterpick Shen will do so.
  • Shen's kit is by default strongest when assisting an ally who can take advantage of both his healing and crowd control. You will not be less effective, but rather more efficient earlygame by playing as support Shen.
  • Shen is versatile when duo laning and is not countered specifically by any popular bot lane compositions. Shen can viably sustain losing lanes, and viably harass winning ones at any time. He also amplifies jungler ganks incredibly well.

And don't Jungle Shen, please. It takes too long for Shen to gain levels reasonably in the jungle especially if you get counter jungled. Shen always has to lane.

Support Shen is also a good pick when:
  • You have one or more solo champions that scales well into lategame but is likely to be bullied and tower dived.
  • You do not know what AD carry your team wants to play or what your opposing matchup will be, as Shen can viably adapt to the needs of pretty much any bot lane.
  • Your AD carry is extremely strong, but very vulnerable to being dived especially by suppression ultimates. You are an amazing counter to Warwick lategame for instance, but you are not necessarily the best champion for laning against him.
  • Your jungler is capable of doing extremely high damage. Jungle Kha'Zix ganks can be heavily teammate reliant for instance, as he lacks tools to lock down targets, but can demolish stationary targets if for instance as Shen you are able to initiate fights for him.
  • Your entire team in general is squishy, or lacks good initiation, and needs a tank. Shen is always a good choice when you need a tank. Support Shen for example can work quite well on double AP comps due to being a durability scaling champion that can reliably protect or help initiate for squishier teammates. Shen also compliments popular assassin based comps very well given his ability to assist dives incredibly strongly when paired with other mobile, high damage teammates who he can put his ultimate on. And of course for dedicated protection comps, Shen is also a great support who is able to make a key teammate much harder to kill from anywhere on the map.

Runes

This is a very standard runepage that I run on many champions when my goal is generally speaking durability. HP/lvl Seals combined with Armor Quints generally gives you a strong mix of balanced durability that functions well earlygame and lategame. Magic Resist Glyphs, scaling or flat, are also pretty standard given Shen wants to be more durable.

I run Magic Pen Marks on Shen given most of your damage during the laning phase usually should come from poking with your Q. If you expect to use your Taunt to engage on range ADs or squishy poke supports, then you can also run Hybrid Pen for more all-in damage.

Masteries

mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 0/4
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
0 Offense
mastery 1 2/2
mastery 2 2/2
mastery 3 0/2
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 4 1/3
mastery 1 3/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
16 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 3/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
14 Utility
For the most part, some combination of defense and utility is ideal on Shen. Running more points in defense is better lategame, but utility gold masteries will help you reach lategame more easily, hence why I run 14 in utility.

is generally speaking really weak and not worth investing in when you realize that it takes 100 points of BONUS resistances to get 5 MR/Armor from that mastery. If you know the other team is heavily stacked towards a single damage type, it can be cost efficient by slightly helping increase the value of resistance stacking, but earlygame it doesn't do much for you.

16 in defense either way lets you potentially invest in either or depending on what type of damage you expect from the enemy team, and is also enough to max out which scales really well on Shen.

Summoner Sets

Primary Set
Heal is currently slightly overpowered, but at any rate it has always been the optimal summoner of choice for Support Shen. Shen is a melee support that doesn't have extremely high all-in potential like a few others, but rather plays a poke/sustain style that can engage once people are whittled down or getting ganked. Heal gives you some much needed early sustain to survive other poke lanes, and also actually is generally very useful when combined with your ultimate, which amplifies your ability to globally assist teammates. The new added movement speed bonus can be used further to assist disengages or even to engage on enemies.

Flash is taken to help assist initiating fights. A properly positioned Flash Taunt can catch a lot of players off guard. Alternatively, against melees, you can also Taunt then Flash to pull them towards your team.
Ignite & Exhaust
You can pick either one of these offensive summoners in conjunction with Flash for more aggressively oriented lanes. I don't usually recommend these, given Shen has a relatively low damage all-in overall, though you might end up favoring one of these anyway when your range AD takes heal. Ignite can be used to help you kill Sona, Soraka, or Alistar lanes more easily on a good engage. Exhaust can be used to bait and mitigate burst against other kill lanes. I usually don't prefer these over Heal however given Shen excels at winning lane gradually rather than in one big engage.
Teleport & Ghost
These are also okay summoner spells on Shen. Teleport can be funny on Shen when combined with his existing global presence with ultimate, which gives you more map control options. Ghost is the best lategame mobility spell on Shen, but earlygame is less useful before you build large amounts of durability. Ghost is more suitable on a solo laning Shen who will acquire farm a little more quickly.

Item Builds

Starting Build(s)
Default Starting Build
2
Core
This is the best starting build for Shen ever. Like, in all seriousness, Relic Shield is an amazing item on Shen. The health and regen are both great stats on Shen earlygame. The minion gold sharing attribute of this item is awesome especially after upgrading to Face of the Mountain considering that much of your build prioritizes health, giving you extra options for keeping your lane partner healthy in addition to your other healing options.

Earlygame we take one sight ward, two potions (upgraded to biscuits), and a warding totem as well. These all ensure you have a relatively safe laning phase. Later on your Warding Totem should be exchanged for a Sweeping Lens as Sightstone will be granting you a source of free wards.

IMPORTANT: Executing a minion with Relic Shield does not proc your Q healing. Might be a glitch.
Final Build(s)
Standard Final Items
This is a relatively conservative final build, assuming the game doesn't go long enough for a 6th item. However if you do have time to build a 6th item, this usually varies depending on what you or your team needs.

Face of the Mountain and Ruby Sightstone are essential items on Shen, who benefits from health scaling significantly. Face of the Mountain also provides useful CDR, which lets you use all your abilities, including your ultimate more often, and the active shield scales with your total health which can be amazing for saving teammates under focus fire. Alternatively you can use it on yourself for a quick burst of extra survivability. Furthermore the gold sharing attribute is always useful whenever you are grouped with your team both to increase your teams overall income while assisting pushes.

Mercs are usually the boots of choice on Shen, who lacks a scaling MR stat, and also wants tenacity to avoid being kited. Ninja Tabi however should be chosen against heavy AD teams. When picking Enchantments, you want Alacrity to make it easier to position taunts for potentially initiating during skirmishes.

Locket of the Iron Solari is another important item, which provides CDR and balanced tank stats which are shared among teammates. Again, combined with your other items, this significantly improves your ability to assist and protect teammates.

After the above mentioned items, the next best item to build at this point is usually Warmog's Armor. Yes, I know Blade of the Ruined King is a popular item that counters Warmogs, but remember that this is Support Shen, not Solo Shen, which makes you a lower priority target overall when you are not expected to carry a majority of the team's gold. The most important part is that Shen's kit directly scales with health extremely well. Your Q heals for quite a lot when you build Warmogs, and your Ki Strike does pretty nice damage as well when you have lots of health. To make things better, Face of the Mountain also directly scales with Warmogs (gaining an extra 100 points on its shield), which further improves your ability to protect your teammates.

Lategame the most useful trinket is usually the Greater Vision Totem when your team is generally able to group to defend objectives, not to mention it offering reliable vision for tracking stealth characters on demand. Alternatively the Farsight Orb is actually decent lategame as well for enabling your team to safely facecheck objectives from a distance. Only get the Oracle's Lens if your team needs to track down a fed Shaco or Teemo shrooms.

Note that if the game actually does go especially long, you may run into situations where you acquire surplus gold. In this situation it can be okay to sell your Ruby Sightstone to buy a new final item given cooperative Trinket usage can cover most vision needs efficiently lategame.

Situational Items

Spirit Visage
Want more CDR? Furthermore, does the other team do magic damage? Then go ahead and build this. Fantastic tank item on Shen overall especially if you need MR.
Randuin's Omen
You build this when physical damage is hurting you significantly. Pretty good item overall on Shen that also makes you a lot harder to kite with autos.
Banshee's Veil
Enemy team have 3-5 AP champions? Build this in addition to your Spirit Visage and get hilariously tanky.
Zeke's Herald
This can be a decent item for hitting the CDR cap. The stats overall suck for you specifically, although it helps you very slightly in split pushing and farming and the aura is useful for your teammates, specifically any AD champions.
Frozen Heart
This isn't a TERRIBLE item on Shen. Just you will only consider building it if nobody else builds it, and if the other team is seriously AD stacked. Obviously the mana is wasted, but the rest of the stats overall make it potentially worthwhile.
Sunfire Cape
You can build this if you really feel the need to split push faster, but chances are you won't have the money to afford this early in favor of more important things. Furthermore this item is trash lategame.
Frozen Mallet
Statistically a bit inefficient, but the permaslow on hit effect can be extremely valuable to peel and lock down various tanky bruisers, as well as being really annoying for squishy champions to escape from. Don't build this if your team has a lot of burst however.
Wit's End
Against magic damage teams, this is a reasonable option if you're fed and want to do more killing by yourself. Provides MR and attack speed, which helps you push and helps you proc Ki Strike more.
Trinity Force
If your team seriously absolutely wants you to do damage, then you could build this. One other nice bonus about this item is that the movement speed does actually assist Shen in positioning for initiation.
Twin Shadows
This can be a fantastic midgame item that still can provide valuable utility lategame. AP, CDR, and movement speed are all decent stats on Shen. The active effect also can help you initiate fights and scout the fog of war. This is in my opinion a particularly good item to build if you are ahead, given it not only will give you damage, it will help you pick more fights. You will likely want to sell this lategame though when you have enough money to afford bigger items, especially since you don't really get much durability from this.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
This can be an interesting item, given your Qs will now slow enemies, and your ult will block 108 more damage. I would primarily build this and maybe a few other AP items for a dedicated "protect the carry" comp if I was especially concerned about not being able to shield enough burst damage from my squishy champions during teamfights, though statistically Shen has better items to pick from and still gets plenty of utility from pure tank itemization.
Abyssal Scepter
At first glance, this looks like a great item on Shen if you need magic resist. And if we had more than six item slots, it probably would be. The problem is items like Locket and Spirit Visage exist which have even greater statistical synergy with stats like health and cooldown reduction. Furthermore this competes heavily with something like Wit's End if you are really interested in building combined damage and durability. Abyssal Scepter still can be considered here and there for taking advantage of your AP ratios especially on your ultimate and helping you and your teammates do increased magic damage to enemies.
Talisman of Ascension
This item can be considered later in the game if your team absolutely requires you to build this for initiation purposes. You have to sell Face of the Mountain to build this, and the mana regen is obviously wasted on Shen. It does provide a nice chunk of CDR, though the lack of other tank stats is a turn off.
The Black Cleaver
In all seriousness, this is a terrible item on Shen. But there is a time and place where it can be built. Assuming you are running a pure armor build because the enemy team picked 5 AD champions, you are going to be missing out on good CDR options (unless you are fine with Frozen Heart). Black Cleaver can be considered very late in your build in these situations. It will help you keep up with pushing from other AD champions, assist your physical damage teammates, and the stats overall are usable if terrible in overall gold efficiency.
Quicksilver Sash
Another terrible item that costs a lot and gives rather garbage stats, but can be considered for trolling debuff/suppression oriented champions if you know they will focus you. This item removes more things than you might expect, but you should only seriously consider it if you are certain that removing a specific debuff will let you win a teamfight.
Nashor's Tooth
I guess for those games where you don't need durability but just need to protect a carry from a bunch of initial burst with your ultimate, I guess you could go ahead and max CDR with this item and build more AP items. Helps you split push a bit too, but in all seriousness, highly situational at best.

Skill Order

Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Ki Strike
QVorpal Blade
WFeint
EShadow Dash
RStand United
This is your primary safe skill order. Q max first, E taken at level 2, shield maxed second. This gives you the most durability and sustain. Ranking up E is overall less impactful than your other skills which do more damage and give you more durability.

Skills

Ki Strike
Lets you trade autos well with other melees, and adds some burst damage to your engages especially after you build health. Does not help you proc Relic Shield executes directly as I recall, but can assist last hitting in situations where you are not with your lane partner. Remember to use this during engages whenever possible to regain energy, which can make or break plays.
Vorpal Blade
This is a ranged poke and heal. Note that it is MUCH shorter ranged than other ranged autoattacks, meaning that you will be in range to be hit by other champions when you walk in range to use this on champions. However the sustain you can give yourself and your lane partner over time makes this strong, especially when you get your partner to trade with an opponent who has been marked with your Q.
Feint
Usually when you go to exchange with an enemy using Q, you will use your shield to block a hit in the process. This can also be especially useful for tanking skillshots for teammates, especially from Ezreal.
Shadow Dash
Your primary playmaking ability. Effectively is a 1.5 second hard disable that can hit AOE potentially, which is strong for both peeling and engaging. Also can be used as an escape, making you very difficult to kill under most situations.
Stand United
One of the main reasons to play Shen. Global presence is a rare thing in this game. Acquiring this ultimate gives you amazing countergank potential and also enables you to take some time off to solo farm unlike other supports. You can also use this in an emergency to get back to lane faster as well.

Champion Matchups

Alistar
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Alistar has a very scary all-in and good sustain, though his all-in costs him a huge amount of mana. Generally speaking you have to play carefully given his disables can seriously hurt. Make sure your taunt is always available to get out of a bad situation, and focus on landing whatever safe Qs and Ki Strikes you can on Alistar. If you can force Alistar to waste resources trying to all-in you unsuccessfully, the lane should be yours. However he can also opt to sustain versus you as well, though if he goes this route, then the lane becomes a farm lane that slightly favors you as time goes on.
Annie
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Annie's really long range auto is honestly the most annoying part of this matchup, because Shen can't really punish it reliably. This lane otherwise isn't necessarily hard, though flat MR runes help. With Heal, your shield, and taunt, you can make a mistake in this matchup and have a relatively good chance of surviving. Calling for a gank very early into the game can also set Annie behind if she is forced to use her stun sub-optimally. If Annie's stun is down, take the opportunity to try zoning her with your Q and force her to use spells on you if you can shield them. Otherwise, just try to maintain brush vision of her and make sure to keep your AD healthy.
Blitzcrank
Difficulty
Favors You
The worst part about this lane is really just hoping your AD is smart enough to either position behind you or a minion at all times if he lacks an escape. Or alternatively spellshielding correctly if named Sivir. Outside of that you really have little to fear in this matchup. You can freely poke Blitz in this matchup with relative impunity, given it is simple to dodge his hook on reaction with your Taunt, or alternatively to use it after he grabs you to disengage easily. Note that his Grab Power Fist combo hurts, but if he is using it on you without actually killing you, then this puts you ahead given the mana he wasted and the fact that you can simply take your time to recover any lost health. Blitzcrank does become more scary at level 6 when his ultimate gives him an extra nuke, so midgame it is definitely worth having some magic resistance and health against him.
Brand
Difficulty
Favors You
Placeholder for Braum:

Braum excels mostly in counterengaging and extended fights by stacking up his on-hit passive with the help of a partner, which works to your advantage easily since you do not run on mana and are more of a defensive poke support as opposed to an all-in based one. Play safely at level 1, and then poke him repeatedly with Q and use your E to disengage from his attempts to hit you with his Q, and he won't be outlasting you in the laning phase. Just be careful about stepping in his range however if his partner is able to attack you simultaneously because his passive both stuns and does bonus damage.
Caitlyn
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Caitlyn outranges your dash and is generally speaking really annoying given you'll basically be forced under tower for a lot of the game unless playing with a lane partner with strong enough burst to all-in her. Even though Caitlyn's escape is strong, your Taunt initiations last for 1.5 seconds and can be difficult for her to react to, so waiting for ganks can usually be effective against her.
Draven
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Draven can be one of the harder range ADs for Shen to lane against. His Spinning Axes eat through your shields easily, and cost virtually no mana, and furthermore are amplified by lifesteal. Shen can still perform well against Draven by setting up ganks easily, given Draven is only effective at rather short ranges.
Janna
Difficulty
Favors You
Janna has really really high mana costs, and by herself doesn't do much damage. So under normal circumstances, beating her lane isn't hard by just whittling her down. You only have to be mildly concerned about ganks due to Janna's crowd control options. Later in the game however she becomes difficult to engage on both due to her peel options and the mobility aura she offers, and Shen never is particularly strong at straight up all-inning her, so it is important to win this lane early to make her less useful.
Jinx
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Jinx has a lot of options to make your life annoying. She pushes hard, has the option of poking from a distance, has a strong mana pool, and even though she lacks mobility and needs to be in close range to do a lot of damage, her potential to counter engage with properly positioned snare grenades can be really scary. Your best time to force her to play more carefully is levels 1-2 generally speaking before she gets a lot more ranks in her Q and her full skillset. If you can engage on her for some damage by that point, you can possibly put the lane in your favor. Otherwise when engaging on her, it's very important to be able to avoid being snared by her unless the fight is otherwise completely in your favor and won by catching her out of position.
Leona
Difficulty
Favors You
This is a pretty close lane. Leona's damage output is intimidating, but Shen can get away with a lot more in this matchup than many other supports due to his strong escape. You can win this matchup if you play your poke and sustain game carefully and always disengage correctly to avoid taking a lot of damage from her passive procs. What can get scary is when Leona catches your AD though. If her AD is not in position to follow up, then your best option there is to taunt her AD to peel and prevent him or her from proccing Leona's passive on your AD, which allows you to exchange favorably.
Lucian
Difficulty
Favors You
Lucian needs to use a lot of abilities to be effective in lane, which makes this matchup mostly decent for Shen. With good timing, it's relatively simple to block a large portion of his ability burst with your W. This doesn't mean you should be trying to constantly all-in him, given Lucian can do a lot of damage if given time to unload his full ability rotation easily. Regardless, this is a typical example of a range AD that you can usually beat over time reliably.
Lulu
Difficulty
Favors You
Lulu's autos and abilities have decent base damages, but she eats mana very fast. Shield a few Es or Qs from her while trading blows and sustaining with Q, the lane is basically yours to win. She counterengages quite well though especially at level 6, so be careful when playing very aggressively.
Nami
Difficulty
Favors You
Nami really doesn't have the mana efficiency to beat you. In a simple poke war, your shield and lack of mana make straight exchanges simple. Nami also has a very hard time stunning you if your Dash is available, though most likely she will save it for counterengaging or catching your AD, though by avoiding it, you can usually be relatively aggressive in picking fights with her. Avoid eating too many autos from her though when her E is up, because it hurts considering that you are relatively vulnerable to kiting.
Sona
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
This is a hard lane if the Sona player can position well enough to harass your AD relatively unpunished. Her sustain while mana based is overall stronger than yours, and your all-in is typically not as great as others which makes this lane hard to win. In this lane, you want to try your best to coordinate focus on Sona to force her to play more safely. Ganks can also tip the matchup in your favor due to your more reliable crowd control options.
Soraka
Difficulty
Favors You
This is mostly a really boring lane. You both pretty much just aim to keep your ADs alive, and have low damage engages. However you benefit considerably more from ganks due to your taunt. It's not necessarily worth hard engaging Soraka though unless you are certain your AD has a very strong followup, given her sustained damage with Starcall does add up.
Taric
Difficulty
Favors You
Thanks to your magic damage pokes and passive, you can trade respectably with Taric. Your sustain is also manaless, in contrast with Taric's abysmal mana pool. You only really need to worry about ganks in this matchup, because both of you have hard CCs with which to enable easy ganks. Outside of that, this lane is mostly yours to win due to your superior disengage, poke, and sustain.
Thresh
Difficulty
Favors You
Thresh is a little harder than Blitzcrank because he has a ranged auto to trade hits with your Q. If you take too many free hits from him, then the matchup won't go well. Otherwise you shouldn't really be losing it given it's relatively easy for you to disengage from his hook. Make sure that if you are actually hooked, to wait until after he uses his E before dashing out. Ideally, try to coordinate poke with your AD on Thresh to force him to play safer, given he lacks sustain early. Be wary of ganks when he throws his lantern as well.
Velkoz
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Shen is overall weaker against other poke supports due to having a relatively low damage all-in, and Vel'Koz perhaps is one of the most dangerous poke supports in the game. Though he's not commonly picked right now, Vel'Koz has a mix of both safe long ranged poke, very low mana costs, and some of the highest base damage burst in the game BY FAR. With no damage items, a Vel'Koz support lategame can literally kill a marksman all by himself by simply hitting his skills correctly.

During the laning phase, Vel'Koz is particularly brutal not only because he kites you well, but he can punish you especially hard for getting too close. His true damage passive REALLY HURTS combined with his base damages, and his combo at level 3 can do well over half your health in damage while disabling you for a considerable amount of time. Thus, avoid his E knockup at all costs if you don't want to die. Be wary of his Q which not only has great range, it also slows you which can set up his E easily.

Overall, Vel'Koz is a really strong lane counter to support Shen. You can't sustain his harass very long, and he can punish your mistakes INCREDIBLY hard. You are amplified better by ganks if you can survive early. Try to get a range AD pick that has strong burst damage so that your engage opportunities on Vel'Koz are more favorable, and generally speaking focus him first during skirmishes.
Zyra
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Zyra has strong poke and is hard to engage on. Her mana pool is also slightly overpowered, making her deceptively hard to outsustain. Overall against a good Zyra, you are forced to play carefully given her combo damage off a snare is pretty good, and approaching her is generally difficult. You can however easily kill her plants by tossing a Q and autoattack on them. Note that this procs Relic Shield if you have a charge, so try to get your AD to last hit the plants instead ideally.

Early Game

Support Shen like many other supports shines early game. His kit is very versatile and effective offensively and defensively. You should not however usually play Shen with a kill-lane mindset from the start, because his burst damage output is overall very low earlygame. While your E makes a good lockdown initiation, you probably won't be able to easily set up a kill with it unless your lane partner is someone with really high nuke damage like Tristana, and even then other supports are better for dedicated kill lanes. This doesn't mean however you can't be an effective aggressive support in some lanes.


Alright, I'm playing support Shen. Wtf am I supposed to do?
Your top priority generally speaking is to enable your partner to farm. There are two basic ways to do this when you play support in general. Either keep your partner alive, or bully the other team's bot lane so that they can't farm and harass efficiently. Shen is a support who can do both these things very effectively, so it is your job to be able to read the situation at hand and decide whether you want to harass the enemy or keep your carry alive.

If you are team blue, and your lane is pushed, you should usually try to get your carry to take the minor Golems when they are available. Your (and later your ) makes you excellent at tanking the Golems, and it's a good source of experience and gold when there are no other minions to farm. Also remember to pay attention to your cooldown on Relic Shield, and try to plan out when you can last hit Siege Minions with it, which are worth a lot of gold.


I feel like a badass, so how do I bully people?
Bullying people with Shen is about Qing them mostly. Keep in mind, this is actually harder than it sounds. Shen's Q only has 475 range, which significantly shorter ranged than any AD carry's autoattack range. Generally speaking, your approach is limited to brush camping to close the gap and then attempting to Q their carry or support as they last hit or commit to something that puts them out of position. Range ADs with good reflexes and positioning generally speaking can get free hits on you as you try to walk up and Q them.

It is worth keeping in mind that given you start with a , you will naturally have a higher than average amount of health regeneration, so typically you can come out ahead in long term exchanges by simply persisting successfully at Q pokes. Alternatively, the threat of hitting an opposing carry with a Q or an E is often able to actually deny last hits under certain situations especially if they lack a sustain support, so oftentimes you can simply zone people by walking towards them. If you are taking a lot of harass though, you can Q and attack minions as a source of health regeneration. Just note that executing a minion with Relic Shield currently does not proc your Q healing.

Speaking of E, your taunt can be used as an initiation tool, although you only really want to try this if you are certain your AD can follow up for big damage, particularly if this will guarantee a kill or at least blown defensive summoners. If you and your AD are at a reasonably strong advantage early on in lane, you may consider taking extra points in E to increase your burst damage output by a tiny bit.


Wtf, my AD is wimpy. What can I do?
Fear not, this is another reason why Shen is a good support, because you also have the option of playing lanes defensively very effectively. As a defensive support, you generally will save your E to peel attackers as necessary, or you will be using your lane presence to prevent the other team from approaching your carry safely.

If your AD carry is taking a lot of harass, you can also heal your carry by letting them attack targets that you mark with your Q. The ideal situation is landing a Q on their carry/support and having your carry poke them back, which both heals your carry as well as dealing damage to the other team. Typically though if a lane is disadvantageous, you will often be pushed closer to turret. What you can do as Shen is Q healthy minions, and have your carry attack those. The heal may not look impressive immediately, but you can do it repeatedly, and it adds up quite a lot over time. While Shen does not have the same "burst" heal potential a Soraka, Sona, or even an Alistar might have, he can very easily keep up in sustain over time with these supports if played effectively because he is manaless.

Keep in mind, Shen has more difficulty than other supports in directly assisting his carry in last hitting minions under turret with the standard earlygame last hitting techniques given that his and will both do more than enough damage to kill minions under turret fire, and at higher levels when used together do enough damage to almost completely wipe out caster minions. Early on, you should typically prioritize freezing lane (which is preventing creep waves from moving past a certain point, such as into turret range). Alternatively, the other thing you can do is save Relic Shield executes for a few minions under turret if you sense the wave will push to your turret. While your Relic Shield and passive are down however, you can assist under turret last hits by contributing an extra autoattack to help your AD last hit caster minions under turret consistently.


How do I use wards?
The following tips apply generally speaking to all supports. Note that you are limited to placing three wards on the map, so usually it is ideal to bring back two wards with you on trips back until you complete your Sightstone.

1. If you are blue team, the most practical places to ward to prevent ganks include Dragon and the ramp leading to wraiths. This will prevent ganks from either directly through the river or from behind Dragon as long as you pay attention to the map, and this also helps keep your mid lane safe as well.

2. If you are trying to conserve wards but still want reasonably good coverage of ganks coming from the river, you can always simply just ward the area in between and above the tri bush and the bot river bush. This ward location works slightly better for purple team.

3. Warding bushes in the lane is good. You can do this to enable your carry to harass supports that are brush camping, which is especially critical against supports like , , and . It is also very common for junglers to attempt ganks by telling their bot lane to push the creep waves so that you do not have vision of them approaching through the lane bushes.

4. If your team invaded the jungle early to steal an important buff, it is prudent to ward the corresponding buff on your side of the map to make sure the other jungler doesn't attempt to counter invade for free. Likewise you can use wards aggressively against predictable junglers to give vision of when they reach a certain objective and encourage your team to kill them.

5. If you are carrying a , it can and should be used to deny the opponent vision used for any of the above stated purposes. Early on, you probably want to save it for defensive purposes to deny your opponent vision in brush you are camping in, because your low range makes you more vulnerable to kiting than other supports.

6. Vision Wards are situational to purchase early, but may be necessary against a jungle Evelynn or other stealth characters. It is best to try to hide them in bushes that you and your lane partner will be in position to defend.

Mid Game

Most of the time during your first trip back assuming good last hitting from you and your lane partner, you will purchase a and a few extra wards. Your goal is then to complete your . Once that is done, at this point of the game, you can exchange your for a different trinket. Usually Sweeping Lens is preferable for counterwarding so you can help your team initiate ganks or Dragon control. Item goals from here now include and , which will round out your necessary utility while making you relatively durable.


I hit level 6. Now what?
This is one of the best reasons to be playing Shen. You have the unique ability of counter ganking lanes from anywhere, at any time. A well-timed ult should generally save a life and under some circumstances possibly enable a kill. Be careful that you don't get interrupted by even a silence from Soraka if you're intending to peel attackers from the person you are ulting, although this does not cancel the shield that you place on your target. Your ult also can be used to help your jungler in gank situations by allowing him to make more risky plays with the benefit of a beefy shield to protect him.

Of course, one of the only downsides to support Shen compared to other supports is his ultimate isn't as directly helpful bot lane as others because ulting to save the life of your carry isn't quite as effective if the other team then switches focus to you while you're in lane. Don't take this to be a bad thing overall, because the rest of your kit is still very strong for serving whatever purpose your AD carry needs.

In emergencies however, you can also use your ultimate as a way to get back to lane faster as you recall ideally to purchase more wards and other stuff essential for you lane.


I'm bored here! Shouldn't someone be dying around now?
Forcing someone out of lane can be just as good, so generally speaking you don't want to get too greedy if your team already establishes a clear advantage.

If you really want someone to die however, possibly because their support/carry scales better or is farming better or is otherwise problematic to deal with in lane, then keep in mind that Shen is also very strong midgame when your jungler comes to gank. In this situation, be ready to flash E their carry if necessary. A good stunlock from your jungler, Shen's taunt, and perhaps an Ashe or Varus ultimate will probably kill someone very easily.

Before you call your jungler for a gank, it's prudent to thoroughly ward any location from which the opposing jungler or mid lane could attempt a counter gank. If the enemy jungler is someone like or in particular, take some time beforehand to actually ward inside their jungle, because they will avoid the standard warding spots at the river with their ultimates.


Dragon Control
A team with Shen in general can kill Dragon very easily due to how strong Shen's sustain is. If you know the other team lacks vision at Dragon, or especially if your jungler successfully killed someone either bot or mid lane, your team should generally try to be very aggressive in controlling Dragon. Shen's gives free sustain for everyone who attacks Dragon, and you are strong at tanking Dragon as well due to your shield and sustain, as well as the fact you typically will run . Carrying a vision ward beforehand can be practical for ensuring that the area is cleared of enemy vision before contesting Dragon.

Late Game

By this point of the game, a lot of turrets are probably destroyed on either side, and teams are grouping and looking for opportunities to catch people out of position or to complete objectives quickly. Hopefully by this point you are sitting on at least one other major item besides your choice of boots, , and .


I'm Shen, so can I split push now?
It certainly is an option given you can be on one side of the map and use your ult to join your team during a fight. However most of the time, you are more useful either staying near your team to farm your Face of the Mountain charges. If you have to roam by yourself, you are typically just warding wherever you can to give your team vision on the entire map as well as searching for enemy wards to destroy if you are carrying the Lens trinket.

If you do intend to split push however, as a general tip, ward places. The luxury of split pushing safely by properly warding the map is very very inexpensive, and generally speaking you don't want to die pointlessly to ganks. Note that as the recommended build is primarily tank items, you will typically have very few items that enhance your mobility or damage.


So, again, how do I use wards?
For the most part place wards wherever you like lategame. Typically good places to ward for the sake of managing objectives are the brush near buffs as well as Baron and Dragon as well as the paths leading to Wraith camps. Baron in particular should be kept warded at all times lategame, because completing Baron is worth 5 champion kills as well as huge stat buffs comparable to having your own personal Sona.

In general, try to pay attention to the position of the enemy team, and take advantage of this to ward places where they aren't hiding currently, because even if you're a tank, it's not fun to get caught by their entire team hiding in that one tiny bush near Baron or Wraiths. Wards also have other fun uses such as warding over the walls inside their base to give vision of people turret hugging, or even enabling a teammate with teleport to backdoor more efficiently. And of course in emergencies, you can also ward over the walls behind Baron if you lack a safer way of acquiring vision of it.


Teamfighting with Shen? Am I even relevant as a support?
You are a tank, and your name is Shen. This is actually one of the easiest as well as the most satisfying parts of playing Shen in my opinion, and this is another reason why Shen makes an excellent support. Shen sports a kit that has high defensive utility and strong direct scalings with pure durability items, which overall gives him easy ability to transition on a budget.

In teamfights, you can either peel enemies from your carry, or you can initiate on someone out of position. This requires being able to assess how well your team is able to focus targets or defend against initiations. If the other team has a threatening assassin, you probably want to prioritize peeling the assassin when he attempts to dive your carry. If your team is capable of really high burst damage, then you want to try taunting a squishy target. If other members of your team are capable of initiating, it also can be good to wait for them to start, and then take advantage of this to get in a better position to either taunt multiple targets or isolate high priority threats during the chaos. If the other team is still doing a lot of damage to your carries, then do remember to use your ultimate. At max rank, blocking 850 damage on an allied unit is extremely strong. Combine this with the active effect from and , you can potentially be blocking up to 2400 points of damage total for your team instantly.

Are you getting focussed and killed during teamfights after you get off your full spell rotation? If teams are fairly evenly matched, then it's probably fine if you are the first to die on the team as long as you disabled someone and saved lives on your team. The best case scenario however is the other team not only focusses you, but they fail to actually kill you before you escape, which is not a very unrealistic scenario when you keep in mind that Shen's at max rank with 40% cooldown reduction is on a 4.8 second cooldown. Of course, you have to keep in mind that your E has an extremely high energy cost. Which brings me to my next section.

Energy management

While Shen is a very forgiving champion by design, your ability to manage Shen's energy costs will truly determine the skilled Shen players from the decent ones. Here I will give some basic guidelines on how to manage Shen's energy. These alone will not make or break Shen, but mastery of your resource management in general will make you a better and more efficient player. Ask yourself these questions to determine the optimal way to use your abilities.

1. Do I have blue buff?
If so, then don't worry too much about your energy costs and feel free to go nuts in fights if you're not committing suicide. Yes Blue Buff is actually strong on Shen. Lower cooldowns are never a bad thing, and combined with the huge +30 per 5 bonus in energy regeneration, you can be significantly more aggressive with Shen when you are carrying a Blue Buff. Combined with optimal use of Ki Strike, Blue on Shen essentially can enable you to spam your Q and W nearly on cooldown constantly. This does not mean that you should be taking Blue Buff from your AP carry, but in the event you are able to steal a buff from the other team, it's a very very nice bonus on Shen.

2. How badly do I need to escape?
At rank 1, the cooldown on Shen's is such that it forces you to wait long enough to the point that its energy cost is a relatively minor issue. At higher ranks however, using Shen's dash strictly as an escape will pretty much put you almost completely out of energy after using it twice in a row, especially if you are using it as soon as possible with cooldown reduction factored. If you use your to block incoming damage, keep in mind there is a risk involved as you will often have to wait slightly longer for your energy to restore to a point where you are allowed to dash again. Keep in mind a 1-2 second delay in hopping a wall can make or break a successful escape with Shen, meaning during heated moments, you will often have to turn around to attack your enemies with to have enough energy to enable your survival.

3. What do I need when initiating?
Do I need damage or do I need crowd control? If you need damage and want to go for the instagib (with teammates of course), then by all means unload your EQW immediately on the unfortunate person you caught out of position. Note that this costs 230 energy. You regain 40 energy for taunting a single target, and at level 13 you regain 30 energy for using . Basically this leaves you with 40 energy remaining. Assuming you don't have a blue buff or Energy runes, it takes a full 8 seconds to have just enough energy to recast it assuming you cast no other abilities within that timeframe, which is the cooldown duration of your Taunt at max rank without cooldown reduction. With that in mind, if you left out your from the engage, you would have just enough energy to dash in again, and then someone successfully assuming the taunt landed after waiting only 5 seconds, which is basically the cooldown of your with 40% cooldown reduction. Now on the other hand, if you strictly saved your energy for only using , you pretty much would break about even in energy costs and energy restored. This assumes your dash always taunts a single champion, you land a Ki Strike each time after dashing, and factors 40% cooldown reduction. If you taunted 3 champions on the other hand, then feel free to go nuts, because not only did you completely refund your energy for dashing, it was probably such a damn good initiation that your team should win that fight, and should win it fast.

4. Did I just flat out screw up and miss an offensive taunt?
Check tip 2 and think for a moment carefully before carelessly tossing a on someone as you retreat.

5. Am I going to be autoattacking a lot?
If you're really fed, build a Frozen Mallet so you can stick to enemies with your autoattacks and then if you are expected to semi-carry games, get a Wits End or Trinity Force for raw DPS. Shen can restore his energy more efficiently if he increases the rate at which he can proc . Note that if you can autoattack three times during the duration of your , this basically refreshes in just three seconds if you previously just used it. Without , it typically will come up after four consecutive autoattacks over the course of about five seconds.

6. What about Energy Regen runes?
Energy Regen/level runes give you 10 Energy per 5 at level 18. This is not nearly as powerful as acquiring a Blue, so it is important to maintain good basic resource management habits in general. However, the benefits of Energy runes are something you can notice and appreciate when you experience how they can increase your margin of error especially if you like taking advantage of the benefits of cooldown reduction in a pure tank build. By understanding your inherent limits, you can optimize your playstyle with Energy runes by finding nuanced moments where you know it's acceptable to whiff your E for mobility purposes, and get more opportunities to spam Q and W in duels.

Jungling (Don't play Jungle Shen, but learn protect your own jungle pls)

Don't play Shen as a jungler please!
In my opinion, playing Shen actually as a jungler is never going to be the most efficient way of playing him. While he has respectable ganks that can juke wards, and is sustained enough to jungle for a year with no immediately ill-effects, you suffer problems similar to that of Warwick, in that your clear time is slow, given you have no AOE clears and especially in the case of Shen, rather poor offensive steroids. Unless you can expect your team to be able to guard your jungle constantly from invasions, you will almost certainly have buffs and small camps stolen from you when playing against other faster jungle picks. You also happen to be very weak and vulnerable during your early levels where you will likely will have taken a decent amount of damage from clearing your first camps, which is a point where many other junglers who do more damage than you can pick fights and at the very least further slow you down, if not potentially kill you.

The main good thing is because you're a tanky support-oriented champion, your transition outside of the jungle is pretty easy given you scale well with durability items. A jungler like Master Yi is a very risky pick not because he can't manage his own jungle reasonably, but because as a carry jungler, he requires really expensive damage items to remain functional when transitioning to teamfights. As Shen generally speaking, you never really will have that problem given your Taunt and Global ultimate are always useful abilities, and your as usual makes you a significant Dragon/Baron threat.


HOWEVER, if you want to be good, you need to pay attention to your jungle!
As a support however, you can be a lot more useful to your team if you have a good understanding of how jungling works. During the start of the game, it is very common for teams to invade the other team's jungle at level 1 to either secure first blood or steal a crucial buff. Earlygame, you may want to delay taking a point in any skill at all during initial jungle procedures because in the event your team is invading, or the other team chooses to invade, a point in can make or break a teamfight as well as give you a way to escape from bad situations. If your team is defending blue, tell your mid laner to defend that midlane river bush ASAP at all costs. No, I do not mean the tiny bush near Dragon/Baron, or that curved bush above/below it. I mean the bush that is perpendicular to the river and RIGHT NEXT TO MID LANE. It frustrates me tremendously when I watch my team fail to defend that crucial location because it's not only a smart thing to do, a lot of people apparently don't do it at all, and it makes it too easy for to get away with free blind grabs if nobody gives vision of that one location.

In general, if you are expecting the other team to invade the jungle at some point, it is very prudent to get to the buff that your jungler isn't starting at and ward it ASAP. If you see the other team steal it early, then your team can make an effort to steal the corresponding buff on the other side of the map to even things out. If on the other hand a lone jungler foolishly tries to steal that buff all by himself, then he's free money if your team hunts him down.

You can also ward inside the enemy jungle for offensive purposes as well. If your jungler is very strong and is planning to invade, you can ward either at an important buff (usually red buff), or near wraiths to track the other jungler's movement. This will enable your jungler to either steal a camp safely, or find a good opportunity to pick a fight.

If the enemy mid laner is someone like Anivia who is extremely dependent on the Ancient Golem buff to do anything, then (especially if you are on team Blue) you usually want to try to find a safe opportunity to ward the enemy blue buff at around 5:30 (given in most cases, the first large camp that was taken respawns at around 7:15ish). If you can get your team to cooperate and contest for that buff successfully, then that could potentially win mid lane for you.

In general, if you are expecting predictable plays to be made in the jungle in locations that you could easily punish when you see them happen, then it's usually a good idea to ward in such a location. Crippling the enemy jungle is probably one of the best ways to secure a large advantage earlygame, as this enables your other lanes to play more aggressively and come out ahead in 2v2s when your own jungler counter ganks.

Of course, sometimes you will have free time during laning phase. If there is absolutely nothing else to do, and your jungler is on the other side of the map, you can and should farm the jungle, or better yet assist your carry in doing that. This is typically very difficult to do safely right when the game starts given how much damage jungle creeps do at level 1, but if you have pushed your lane significantly, then sometimes instead of being overextended against opponents that are trying to freeze lane, it's easier to just retreat into your jungle and do Golems or Wight, depending on being team Blue or Purple respectively. Shen is one of the better supports at enabling safe farming of neutrals due to his sustain, so you should take advantage of farming neutrals as often as possible as long as you aren't sacrificing lane control.

Good partners

Shen is a very versatile support that is able to successfully lane with many champions. Usually in soloque though, you will typically lane with a range AD, which usually helps you cover your weakness of kiting. In general though, aside from wanting champions to help him deal with kiting, picking Shen with champions that pack extra disables and nukes is ideal.

Preferred Range ADs


These range ADs usually address one or more of Shen's problems nicely. Either they are good at helping him deal with kiting, or they pack good spells to follow up your Taunts for nice damage. And as a result, these range ADs generally make for strong laning combinations with Shen.

Special Considerations


These initiators are fantastic teammates to have with Shen, given their ability to dive from a very long range. You can amplify their initiations by a lot with your ultimate, making them harder to kill, and by adding an extra disable to their dive. Furthermore as junglers, they are often valuable assets to your laning given the damage they provide in ganks.


Their global teleports combined with your own makes for incredibly scary ganking and initiation possibilities. They also greatly appreciate having a tanky frontline to peel for them.


These are champions that a team inevitably wants to focus to death due to their ludicrous sustained damage and death cheating mechanics, so naturally delaying their deaths further by using your ultimate on these champions either during laning or especially in teamfights is a huge nuisance, especially if they actually survive long enough for you to peel. These champions also both have the potential to initiate fights from a relatively long range, which further assists you in getting into the thick of action. Both these champions also can push very quickly, which combined with Shen's global presence gives your team considerable ability to pressure the map.


Lulu is a fantastic teammate to have with Shen generally speaking due to her ability to speed you up. Her ultimate also gives you bonus health and stick power, which makes you extra powerful in teamfights. Alternatively, your combined value in protection based comps is really insane when your ults combined can effectively give well over 1600 heath to a single target lategame.

Videos

COMING SOON! (hopefully)

Patch Commentary

February 14, 2012 (Nautilus patch) http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V1.0.0.134
The patch that provided the main rework to Shen, and started the general trend of permabanning him in ranked games. To sum it up, the changes to , damage reduction upon taunting enemies, and the increased methods by which Shen could restore his energy made him a much more terrifying tanky duelist. was nerfed slightly earlygame for sustain purposes, but gained a health scaling ratio and an effect similar to Skarner's old in which killing a unit with it would restore health. In general, this patch increased Shen's ability to transition smoothly to lategame drastically, a reason why he's been considered a very strong champion.

March 20, 2012 (Lulu patch) http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V1.0.0.136
Slight nerfs in cooldown and base damage. Makes Shen's already rather low damage output worse, but otherwise does little to affect him. Does little to affect support Shen, whose strength lies not in damage, but in versatility and tankiness.

June 6, 2012 (Draven patch) http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V1.0.0.141
had a cooldown increase of 1 second. This is a nerf particularly to jungle Shen, who already suffers significantly from slow clear times, while solotop Shen mostly doesn't care during laning phase. Support Shen on the other hand actually considers this a slight buff, simply because it slightly aids Shen in his ability to assist his carry in last hitting under turret when necessary. All in all not a hugely significant change.

July 7, 2012 (Jayce Patch) http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V1.0.0.142
A significant nerf to Shen's ultimate, especially for most versions of Jungle and Solotop Shen that don't build cooldown reduction in favor of pure tank or tanky DPS items. This nerf, the cooldown nerf on , and some metagame observations is why I have started to prefer a lot more in my Support Shen builds. Building 15% cooldown reduction early will put your ultimate cooldown on something similar to what it was pre-nerf, which feels a lot more manageable as a support.

July 19, 2012 (Zyra Patch) http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V1.0.0.143
I actually don't understand the point of this particular nerf to . 2 less damage per level means at level 18, you do a grand total of 36 less base damage on your passive before factoring magic resistance. If anything, I don't notice it at all, and it doesn't really change that Shen can build nothing but health and do respectable damage. Very unnoticeable if anything. The cooldown nerf a few patches ago on the other hand was far more significant, and even that was relatively minor.

August 30, 2012 (Late August Patch) http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V1.0.0.146
A significant nerf to the cooldown on early ranks of Shen's . This doesn't really change that Shen's E is an amazing escape. This more limits Shen's ability to be aggressive earlygame. This isn't quite as noticeable for support Shen who is by default a very strong passive laner, and if you simply save your dash for critical moments that your carry can follow up from, it still will get the job done. However in earlygame teamfights, you will not be able to stick to targets quite as reliably or disengage after initiating. More importantly, for solotop Shen, picking fights with your dash is more risky if the enemy jungler camps top lane.

December 4, 2012 (Nami Patch) http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V1.0.0.152
Season 3 changes whoa. For the most part, it is a rather noticeable nerf to Support Shen, in the sense that itemization for him became a lot more difficult, especially with the removal of Heart of Gold. A lot of the most attractive support items in this game currently use mana in some shape or form. While this doesn't mean they are necessarily bad items to pick up on Shen, it does mean they are a lot less stat efficient on him as a whole, meaning there is a need to pursue other options to increase Shen's overall stat efficiency as a support. However, Emblem of Valor now upgrades into the much desired Aegis, Kage's Lucky Pick now actually is a great item on Shen building into Twin Shadows, and Sightstone is a WONDERFUL item on him. Furthermore, while cooldown reduction is overall much harder to itemize on all supports, this change doesn't hurt Shen very much given maxing CDR, while nice on him, is a significantly lower priority. Increased ambient gold also helps Shen and supports in general very much in actually building worthwhile items. Overall in spite of itemization being more difficult and limited for Support Shen, I still expect it to be very strong. Earlygame will likely be more difficult for Shen, though mid and lategame should still be pretty strong for him, possibly stronger.

February 1, 2013 (Annie Visual Update Patch) http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V3.01
Shen receives another nerf to Ki Strike, reducing the cooldown reduction on hit component from 1.5 seconds to 1 second. Doesn't mean a whole lot for supporting, but it does hurt his lategame DPS and jungling. However the tooltip update was nice for managing its cooldown

July 30, 2013 (Master Yi Rework Patch) http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V3.10
The rework to Magic Resist itemization, specifically Spirit Visage, is a huge buff to top lane Shen, making him a lot more viable there.

August 22, 2013 (Lucian Patch) http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V3.10a
Minor nerfs to Shen's and . Not much else to say other than at this point, the accumulation of minor nerfs has been progressively making Shen harder to play earlygame in addition to making it harder for him to compete with other duelists that can outpush him. Trinity Force getting reworked could be considered a buff for top lane Shen likewise.

October 10, 2013 (Jinx Patch) http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V3.12
's damage reduction component on hit now properly restricted to physical autoattack damage.

October 29, 2013 (Sivir and Heimerdinger Rework Patch) http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V3.13
gets a very unnecessary and noticeable nerf in range. Compared to other minor nerfs to Shen, this one disrupted his gameplay and also considerably hurt his ability to pick fights.

November 20, 2013 (Season 4 Patch! + Nasus Visual Update) http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/V3.14
has much of its previous nerf reverted thankfully. Also new gold items released. Targon line of gold items starts off hilariously OP, leading to junglers taking a Targon and farming top lane. Taric becomes supposedly overpowered, although this is good news for Shen who can usually outlane Taric easily. Other than that, mage supports also become more popular due to AP itemization becoming easier and because Annie kill lanes seem to be the rage. Shen in general benefits a lot from this meta shift after getting numerous nerfs to his solo laning potential. Better gold items make supporting much more viable for Shen who is a moderately item dependent support.

Final Comments

Shen is a very overlooked support that can fit on many team compositions viably and has very strong laning presence. A well played Shen can easily win a game for his team by constantly saving lives, locking down and softening threats, and providing virtually unrivaled utility. Playing Shen as a support does not make him less useful than playing him as a solotop, and as a whole makes your team harder to kill by providing your team a tanky and disruptive champion bot lane in addition to whatever champion your team chooses to send top in the end.

Recent Updates

(6/5/12)
Kennen added to Laning partners/matchups!
Note on Wits End in Items.
Updated Ki Strike to reflect recent patch note changes
Added patch commentary details for fun discussion

(6/21/12)
Updated opinions on laning with Ezreal. Slightly better than I originally experienced.

(8/5/12)
Updated various things, particularly in Masteries. Laning tips on Draven and Jayce. Build also sees some tweaks as a result of new patches. Added a section about the jungle.

(8/31/12)
Minor ability update.

(9/30/12)
Added more champions and details in laning matchups!

(10/11/12)
Updated opinions on Ezreal in response to his popularity as an AD carry. Tweaked some item analysis.

(10/23/12)
Urgot has been added. Runes section slightly expanded.

(10/26/12)
Updated opinions on playing against Nunu and Shaco.

(12/15/12)
Major updates in response to S3 mostly complete! Updates include new items, fixes to guide, updated opinions on Caitlyn, Alistar, and Nami!

(12/23/13)
Season 4 update with a bunch of huge changes that I can't be bothered to list here.

Comments

April 25, 2014 - 12:19 AM #1

Thanks for the quick response dude! I will try that right away.

April 24, 2014 - 11:53 PM #2

I actually use Energy Regen/lvl runes on Support Shen all the time. It's just my personal playstyle, and I feel Shen is such a safe support most of the time that I can get away with not running durability in my Seals. Energy Regen is REALLY noticeable on Shen around level 9 when you max out your first skill and have an additional 5 energy regen. Mid and lategame Energy regen essentially gives you an extra spell to cast in teamfights, which if you ask me is more significant than the relatively small stat bonuses from runes. HP/lvl seals come close to Energy Seals due to Shen's scaling, but having your Dash up sooner in contrast after using your other spells is strategically a lot more impactful in contrast.

My personal experience is having at least 8 Armor from Marks allows you to sustainably trade Qs with autoattacks from enemy range ADs earlygame, keeping in mind that when you are lower on health, you can always Q minions and use Relic Shield charges to sustain your health. Armor is technically better than Mpen for trades because of this, but you can definitely run Mpen to press the advantage when zoning as well as deal a bit more damage mid to lategame, which will be more significant than 8 Armor.

April 24, 2014 - 01:59 PM #3

Thanks for the Response. You are probably right with the Leona matchup. Going on their adc is definitly safer.
Thanks for the tipps on runes. Yeah you are right. Im using MS quints only on lanes that I can poke. I will Play a bit around and see what fits best now.
I was actually running MS Quints and Mpen reds+a mix of armor and health seals.But i guess thats not enough armor for botlane.
I have another Question: Do you ever use energy seals? It just feels so risky on a rather weak laning Support like Shen.

April 24, 2014 - 08:19 AM #4

Hmmm, Shen Taunt to peel Leona dash is interesting, though to be frank, it's honestly better to just taunt her AD if you see Leona engaging. The way to beat Leona in general is to dump on her AD so that she can't engage and benefit from procs from her passive. Most of the time if Leona doesn't react to your dash and wastes her stun on your AD without getting her passive off, you win the exchange given you can disengage and outsustain her harass.

Yeah, more recently I've run Mpen reds over Hybrid Pen especially given the universal changes to champion base armor, making Mpen and poking with Q overall more efficient. Hybrid Pen is still slightly better for doing maximum damage after Taunts, which helps when all-inning other poke supports or when using taunt to engage on range ADs in Leona lanes, but I agree Mpen is probably overall better right now. Changing my guide when I notice things that need to be updated at any rate.

Movement Speed Quints might be viable on Support Shen, given I agree they're really valuable for positioning your poke and taunts, but I wouldn't run it with Mpen marks, as this sorta forces you into less than desirable Armor Seals to make your trades safer. Instead you could run something like MS Quints, Armor Marks, and HP/lvl or Energy/lvl Seals for optimal results. I wouldn't run MS quints against Thresh/Leona/all in supports because that makes you squishier to stunlocks if you get ganked, meaning you would benefit more from durability combined with your W and E to disengage. Though vs other poke supports it's probably really nice for setting up ganks as well.

April 23, 2014 - 12:21 PM #5

Hey. Great guide. I enjoy playing Support shen alot. Here are a few things you should maybe add in your guide.
1st off shens taunt cancells Leonas E. So with the right Timing you can disengage Leona and outtrade her hard. Maybe add this in your matchups.
I think you should add MS Quints in your rune section as situational. I nearly always use them. I think MS is really important for Shen
because your Q and E have so low range. I also use quite often Mpen reds instead of hybridpen reds because ist quite hard to do
extended AA trades with Shen on botlane.

April 12, 2014 - 03:24 PM #6

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January 20, 2014 - 09:35 PM #7

http://sh.st/cM6P

March 31, 2013 - 05:49 PM #8

I'll have to update the guide significantly later because quite a few stuff (particularly under items) has changed since the last update, but I appreciate your comments.

March 30, 2013 - 08:27 PM #9

Thank you very much! I've been doing support Shen way wrong. Thanks a lot for showing me how to do it right!

February 24, 2013 - 04:21 AM #10

OUTSTANDING GUIDE BRO! IT IS QUITE INCREDIBLE! So much depth, I am intimidated.

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