IntroductionShen is seen as a full tank by nearly everyone in which he kind of is but he can be made a TANKY DPS like other top laners despiting the AP shen due to the buff on his AP ratios. I consider Shen a very strong top laner compared to many other bruisers who are more seen to be viable when shen is not as popular due to lack of his use in the community. Shen is able to shut down many champs top lane, such as GP, Talon, Garen, Pantheon, Renekton, Tryn and Wukong. These champions relys fully on Physical damage to which when built properly, physical damage is harmelss to Shen. However, AP champions can be a threat for Shen, even if they are not very likely to be sent top but yet, Shen isn't completely shut down by them, if laned well and properly Shen can completely shut down AP carries in the top lane with the assistance of the jungler. I also choose this build over the AP build because it also has damage, sustain damage, and you will be extremely tanky at the same time where AP Shen is not. (NOTE: Read the SHADOW DASH PART CAREFULLY, IT REALLY MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE TO SHEN!!!)
READ THE GUIDE AND I PROMISE YOU WILL LOOK AT SHEN DIFFERENTLY.
MasteriesThe Masteries shown above is rather pretty standard for a tank (no complexity in the defensive tree), however, 3 points is put in attack damage instead of the AP because it gives more sustain damage to the opposing champion and the minions (4 AP doesn't make any difference at all anyway with 1 AP scaling burst). Also the 4 percent CDR is for an obvious reason, for more Qs to be used while laning.
WHY NOT ULTILITY? = The regeneration for energy is not too bad but other than that, you're not going to die a lot, even if you tank a lot for the team, if played correctly you will both TANK and be able to survive due to good positioning which requires some experience in tanking. And the rest in utility for Shen is just garbage...
RunesThe runes used are: +25 Armor and +22 Magic Resistance
I do not run any offensive runes because when compared to how tanky you get from this set up it this rather useless. In the introduction I mentioned about a few champions that can get out-laned by Shen in the top lane, this is also due to the runes I run, the +25 armor with the defensive masteries shut down all the Phyiscal damage Champions. Simply put, all Physical damage champions will be shut down by the +25 Armor. (Note that HP runes will not save you from Physical Damage but AP damage rather due to the sustain damage of Physical Damage)
The +22 Magic Resistance is in case of laning an AP champion or a champion that has some AP scalings such as Irelia.
However, the choice of +25 Armor and +22 Magic Resistance isn't chosen for laning only. This allows Shen to be touchable in the EARLY-MID game, all needed is some HP supported from the item build. Having this survabability, this will give your team a huge advantage in Dragon Control and also for Shen to Gank lanes when top is pushed (Ganking mid lane) or using his "Stand United" (his ultimate) to gank or save people in other lanes. (Junglers too)
From getting all the advantage EARLY-MID game, this will put your team widely ahead in farm, gold and experience to which there is only a small chance left for the enemy team to come back from being behind.
is chosen over say, flash, because of the smaller cooldown, Shadow Dash allows you to go through certain walls too and the sustain speed for chasing enemy champions and tanking turrets when a dive is needed. For instance, if you are to dive the tower, you flash in so that your Shadow Dash gets in range, the enemy champion can simply flash away or outrun you with certain boosts and steriods in the game while Ghost will allow you to catch up to these things even if the enemy uses flash. Running away from the turret after the kill would also be faster to avoid unneccessary damage.
is chosen say, Ignite, because not only it gives you good laning when come to fighting your opponent who you're against in the lane. It also makes the ganks from the jungler a lot more stronger, exhaust combined the Shadow Dash (ability to Taunt enemies), is a confirmed kill if the jungler is obtaining a red buff and is a 90 percent chance if not. However, if the enemy champion has a flash spell, shadow dash can be used first for the jungler to join in then use exhaust after the flash to stop them getting away.
Exhaust is also very useful for the team in teamfights, exhausting the main damage source from the other team combined with the shadow dash (using shadow dash will be explained more in the skills section) can win you the teamfight entirely. However, if it was to be used on an AP carry, timing is very important, say of Annie already used Tibbers or Brand already used his Ultimate when you were not in range of exhaust, exhausting them might not be the greatest idea unless they are really the only damage on the team in which that is highly unlikely in high level play or even medium level play.
Having Exhaust also mean 1 more exhaust to your team combining with your AD carry's or support's exhaust, or might be the only exhaust on the team due to the masteries changes to Cleanse being used a lot more on AD carries.
Passive: Ki Strike
Every 8 seconds, Shen's next attack will deal 8% of bonus health point as bonus magic damage (base damage of 10). Each time a champion hits Shen with an attack, Ki Strike activates 2 seconds quicker.
Shen's passive is what makes Shen a TANKY DPS rather than a full tank. Talking basic first, it is good for harrassing your enemy champion in lane, Vorpal Blade followed by the Ki Strike can do significant damage. Using it to get CS can making trying to get CS easier. Like said earlier, Ki strike is what makes Shen a TANKY DPS and not a full tank because when built properly, as shown in the items section, his passive scales with the bonus health given, to which he can do up to 500-600 per Ki Strike when Warmogs is obtained. However, a cooldown of 8 seconds might seem high, yet, after getting hit by a champion Ki strike gets a decrease of 2 seconds in cooldown, this is easily used by overextending a tiny bit, by going up to the ranged minions or even to the enemy champions will trick the enemy champion to hit you at least once (in lane). In teamfights, this will automatically activate because you're going to get hit for sure, or even if not, using Shadow Dash will force your enemies to attack you. Ki Strike gives Shen huge damage.
Q: Vorpal Blade
Deals 70/115/140/175/210 (+75% of ability power) magic damage to target unit. That unit becomes life tapped for 5 seconds, healing any champions who attack it for 18/26/34/42/50 health over 3 seconds.
Cost 70 / 65 / 60 / 55 / 50 energy
Vorpal Blade is good for harrassing your enemy laner with decent burst damage with such a low cooldown (Also increases the percentage of a successful gank from the jungler when the enemy laner is low). Using Vorpal Blade on minions when low can facilitate getting a good CS. Vorpal Blade is also a good way to sustain well in lane when taken low or even to stay at full HP all the time in lane to decrease the probability of getting ganked when laning. I max this first for good damaage when harrassing the enemy laner and for good sustain in lane to save HEALH POTS (if bought) when neccessary.
(Note: do not always spam this all the time when the Cooldown is up in a teamfight.. this will be explained more in the shadow dash section, also don't use it too much in lane too, rely on your auto attacks too)
Shen enters a defensive stance, shielding the next 50 / 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 (+75% of ability power) damage. Lasts up to 1.5 seconds.
Cost 45 energy
Feint is used by nearly completely all other Shen players, however, I dare say this, that it is not a good choice when compared to Vorpal Blade and Shadow Dash. Feint is good for avoiding damage and useful when ignited when low. However, the sustain from Vorpal Blade will fill the sustain part fine without having Feint. Feint can also often be a waste of energy as it takes up to 45 energy out of 200 when around half of it can already been used by Shadow dash, even if not, it is a big waste from it not being a big number, simply put, not making a big difference. Even if I do not level Feint at all, sometimes you need it for certain situations. For instance, after killing an enemy champion, you level (luckily) however, if you have ignite on you with around 100 Health left leveling Feint to save your own life would be a great idea.
E: Shadow Dash
Shen rapidly dashes to a target location, Taunting enemies he collides with for 1/1.25/1.5/1.75/2 second(s).
Restores 50 Energy if you hit a champion.
Cost 120 / 115 / 110 / 105 / 100 energy
Shadow Dash is seen to be a very good skill by many players, however, many players are underestimating its power when levelled. Many players do see that level it makes only a smaller difference when it actually does a lot more. .25 second per each level might look small but is rather very useful for AD carries to land more hits and AP carries to land skill shots without the enemy moving.
Shadow Dash is very useful when both ganking a lane or having your lane ganked, it stops the enemy champion from getting away to quickly or casting any skills or activating flash or ghost for escape.
Shadow Dash is also a great tool for escaping, whether it will be dashing back to the tower, dashing out from a brush/bush when being followed or dashing through a wall.
Shadow Dash is highly significant in teamfights, it can force all the damage on you while your allies attack them. Taunting AP carries will stop them casting spells when taunting AD carries will stop them doing damage on your carries. Landing Shadow Dash on a lot of enemy champions in teamfights is 95 percent of the time a good thing, however, even if you are able to land it on 4 champions it can be useless if your team is not in range of doing any damage. Landing the taunt on only say Tryndamere would also more useful than taunting 2 people like Soraka and Nunu who aren't going to do a lot of damage to your team.
Shadow Dash can be a great way of catching people out of position found in the jungle, river or even when standing with the team. It is a great way to initiate the teamfight, however, a mistake can easily be made. Sometimes catching someone out first can back-fire because the cooldown might not be up when the teamfight starts after killing the champion you taunted or even worse if you fail to kill them when chose to taunt them. Catching someone out has to also be considered properly, if the enemy AP/AD carry or support is out of position catching them out be good even if their team is next to them while taunting a tank would be the worst decision possible because their team will follow up and you will not have Shadow Dash ready for the fight.
Other than all of that, Shadow Dash is a great way of saving your allies when they are chased, a good Shadow Dash after say "Stand United" can save your allies completely.
Explanation to not always spamming Vorpal Blade: When Vorpal Blade is used frequently, it can use up to much energy that you will only be able to use 1 Shadow Dash in a teamfight rather than 2 (Since teamfights don't normally last that long). For the "DO NOT USE IT TOO MUCH IN LANE" this is because when trying to save someone, after using Stand United on them, you might not have enough energy to use Shadow Dash to save your ally when it is required.
R: Stand United
Places a shield on both a target allied champion and Shen, absorbing 200/475/750 (+150% of ability power) damage for 7.5 seconds. After channeling for 2.5 seconds, Shen teleports to the target's location.
Stand United is a great way to save your allies when being chased or when in a fight from the extra shield it gives. I recommend using this while your allies are fighting and not after the enemy is dead for a free assist (EXTRA GOLD), however, if still in the laning phase, make sure your lane is pushed enough or your jungler is ready to cover, if not re-consider to whether or it is worth using. This is the defensive way of using Shen's Ultimate. (NOTE: Do consider if it is to be used on a support or less important allies, you do not want to give first blood, but wasting it on a support can back-fire a lot if it is needed later on on your carries or more important allies)
Not often seen by a lot of Shen players but using Stand United in an offensive way can be very useful. For example, you are in your lane, your jungler is hiding in the brush/bush finding the enemy jungler doing red/blue, you can easily use Stand United to get there and comfirm the kill on the enemy jungler or stealing the buff. This isn't used for just ganking the enemy jungler or stealing buffs, if your ally is hiding in the brush/bush and sees someone walking towards it, the same way, you can use Stand United and get there to comfirm a kill. (DO NOT BE AFRAID TO USE IT, GETTING A KILL OR AN ASSIST IS WORTH WATIING FOR THE COOLDOWN)
When an ally is diving a turret using Stand United first is rather a better idea than to use it when they're low, this is because if alone, this will give the enemy champion 1 choice left which is to escape rather than turn back and fight because they will see you coming, you will also benefit a kill or an assist out of this rather than just saving your ally.
Using Stand United to initiate a teamfight is good because it will give the ally you use it on extra shield and will also not waste up to 2.5 second while fighting in a teamfight when you can be doing damage, taunting people and zoning your enemies. Consideration is needed if it is to be used during a teamfight because you will lose a lot of time casting it and it might take you in a bad position or out of position.
Item BuildsI choose Warmogs because firstly it gives Shen good duruability, to tank well. It also scales with Shen's Passive (KI STRIKE) giving Shen huge damage due to Ki-Strike Scaling with Bonus HP.
This is to be bought after Warmogs to give your auto attack decent damage too, not to rely all the damage on Ki-Strike and Vorpal Blade, this also allows Critical Strikes and more survabaility because of the armor given from the item.
OR look at your enemy Champion, see if there is a lot of CC or rather a lot of Physical Damage (Sometimes Ninja Tabi can be chosen over Mercury Treads even if there is a lot of CC to outlane your enemy laner)
Magic Resistance: and are both good on Shen because it gives good Magic Resistance which is needed more in the MID-LATE game. Force of Nature also gives Movement Speed which is very useful for different situations, running away or chasing an opponent. While Wits-end is good for doing damage, having that damage and being Tanky at the same time is incredibly strong.
Useful Items: These items are useful in different ways. Radium's Omen is great for HP(scales with Ki-Strike) and Armor, it increasing Shen's potential of tanking and also gives a slow. For Sunfire Cape, it gives Shen small extra magic damage from it and also HP and ARMOR which is obviously good for a tank. Aegis is good for the team overall, however, a support can grab this so that you can get other items that make you stronger. Frozen Mallet gives a lot of HP like Warmogs, it scales well with Ki-Strike and also gives a slow for every basic attack which is good for catching and chasing enemy champinos.